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Microbial control of mosquitoes via the use of symbiotic or pathogenic microbes, such as Wolbachia and entomopathogenic fungi, are promising alternatives to synthetic insecticides to tackle the rapid increase in insecticide resistance and vector-borne disease outbreaks. This study evaluated the susceptibility and host responses of two important mosquito vectors, Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens, that naturally carry Wolbachia, to infections by entomopathogenic fungi. Our study indicated that while Wolbachia presence did not provide a protective advantage against entomopathogenic fungal infection, it nevertheless influenced the bacterial / fungal load and the expression of select anti-microbial effectors and phenoloxidase cascade genes in mosquitoes. Furthermore, although host responses from Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens were mostly similar, we observed contrasting phenotypes with regards to susceptibility and immune responses to fungal entomopathogenic infection in these two mosquitoes. This study provides new insights into the intricate multipartite interaction between the mosquito host, its native symbiont and pathogenic microbes that might be employed to control mosquito populations.

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This work was supported in part by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Project Number 5010-22410-020-00D to JLR. SAJ and GDO were supported by National Institutes of Health grant 1R15AI124005-01.


First published in PLoS Negl Trop Dis 15(11): e0009984.

This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.



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