AbstractSymbiotic bacteria can alter host biology by providing protection from natural enemies, or alter reproduction or vectoral competence. Symbiont‐linked control of vector‐borne disease in Anopheles has been hampered by a lack of symbioses that can establish stable vertical transmission in the host. Previous screening found the symbiont ‘Candidatus Tisiphia’ in Anopheles plumbeus, an aggressive biter and potential secondary vector of malaria parasites and West Nile virus. We screened samples collected over 10‐years across Germany and used climate databases to assess environmental influence on incidence. We observed a 95% infection rate, and that the frequency of infection did not fluctuate with broad environmental factors. Maternal inheritance is indicated by presence in the ovaries through FISH microscopy. Finally, we assembled a high‐quality 1.6 Mbp draft genome of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ to explore its phylogeny and potential metabolic competence. The infection is closely related to strains found in Culicoides biting midges and shows similar patterns of metabolism, providing no evidence of the capacity to synthesize B‐vitamins. This infection offers avenues for onward research in anopheline mosquito symbioses. Additionally, it provides future opportunity to study the impact of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ on natural and transinfected hosts, especially in relation to reproductive fitness and vectorial competence and capacity.
AbstractSymbiotic bacteria alter host biology in numerous ways, including the ability to reproduce or vector disease. Deployment of symbiont control of vector borne disease has focused onWolbachiainteractions withAedesand is hampered inAnophelesby a lack of compatible symbioses. Previous screening found the symbiont ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ inAnopheles plumbeus, an aggressive biter and potential secondary vector of malaria parasites and West Nile virus. We screenAn. plumbeussamples collected over a ten-year period across Germany and use climate databases to assess environmental influence on incidence. We find a 95% infection rate that does not fluctuate with broad environmental factors. Microscopy suggests the infection is maternally inherited based on strong localisation throughout the ovaries. Finally, we assemble a high-quality draft genome of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ to explore its phylogeny and potential metabolism. This strain is closely related to those found inCulicoidesmidges and shows similar patterns of metabolic potential.An. plumbeusprovides a viable avenue of symbiosis research in anopheline mosquitoes, which to date have one other proven infection of a heritable symbiont. Additionally, it provides future opportunity to study the impacts of ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ on natural and transinfected hosts, especially in relation to reproductive fitness and vector efficiency.
AbstractMembers of the bacterial genusRickettsiawere originally identified as causative agents of vector-borne diseases in mammals. However, manyRickettsiaspecies are arthropod symbionts and close relatives of ‘CandidatusMegaira’, which are symbiotic associates of microeukaryotes. Here, we clarify the evolutionary relationships between these organisms by assembling 26 genomes ofRickettsiaspecies from understudied groups, including the Torix group, and two genomes of ‘Ca. Megaira’ from various insects and microeukaryotes. Our analyses of the new genomes, in comparison with previously described ones, indicate that the accessory genome diversity and broad host range of TorixRickettsiaare comparable to those of all otherRickettsiacombined. Therefore, the Torix clade may play unrecognized roles in invertebrate biology and physiology. We argue this clade should be given its own genus status, for which we propose the name ‘CandidatusTisiphia’.