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Assessment of fitness and vector competence of a New Caledonia wMel Aedes aegypti strain before field-release

Abstract : Background Biological control programs involving Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti are currently deployed in different epidemiological settings. New Caledonia (NC) is an ideal location for the implementation and evaluation of such a strategy as the only proven vector for dengue virus (DENV) is Ae. aegypti and dengue outbreaks frequency and severity are increasing. We report the generation of a NC Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti strain and the results of experiments to assess the vector competence and fitness of this strain for future implementation as a disease control strategy in Noumea, NC. Methods/principal findings The NC Wolbachia strain (NC-wMel) was obtained by backcrossing Australian AUS-wMel females with New Caledonian Wild-Type (NC-WT) males. Blocking of DENV, chikungunya (CHIKV), and Zika (ZIKV) viruses were evaluated via mosquito oral feeding experiments and intrathoracic DENV challenge. Significant reduction in infection rates were observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti compared to WT Ae. aegypti. No transmission was observed for NC-wMel Ae. aegypti. Maternal transmission, cytoplasmic incompatibility, fertility, fecundity, wing length, and insecticide resistance were also assessed in laboratory experiments. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel showed complete cytoplasmic incompatibility and a strong maternal transmission. Ae. aegypti NC-wMel fitness seemed to be reduced compared to NC-WT Ae. aegypti and AUS-wMel Ae. aegypti regarding fertility and fecundity. However further experiments are required to assess it accurately. Conclusions/significance Our results demonstrated that the NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain is a strong inhibitor of DENV, CHIKV, and ZIKV infection and prevents transmission of infectious viral particles in mosquito saliva. Furthermore, our NC-wMel Ae. aegypti strain induces reproductive cytoplasmic incompatibility with minimal apparent fitness costs and high maternal transmission, supporting field-releases in Noumea, NC.
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https://hal-riip.archives-ouvertes.fr/pasteur-03364844
Contributor : Nicolas Pocquet Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 5:46:10 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 3:48:07 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 6:12:53 PM

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Nicolas Pocquet, Olivia O'Connor, Heather Flores, Jordan Tutagata, Morgane Pol, et al.. Assessment of fitness and vector competence of a New Caledonia wMel Aedes aegypti strain before field-release. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Library of Science, 2021, 15 (9), pp.e0009752. ⟨10.1371/journal.pntd.0009752⟩. ⟨pasteur-03364844⟩

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