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author:("Wu, mineng")
1.  Analysis of Multiple Tsetse Fly Populations in Uganda Reveals Limited Diversity and Species-Specific Gut Microbiota 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2014;80(14):4301-4312.
The invertebrate microbiome contributes to multiple aspects of host physiology, including nutrient supplementation and immune maturation processes. We identified and compared gut microbial abundance and diversity in natural tsetse flies from Uganda using five genetically distinct populations of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes and multiple tsetse species (Glossina morsitans morsitans, G. f. fuscipes, and Glossina pallidipes) that occur in sympatry in one location. We used multiple approaches, including deep sequencing of the V4 hypervariable region of the 16S rRNA gene, 16S rRNA gene clone libraries, and bacterium-specific quantitative PCR (qPCR), to investigate the levels and patterns of gut microbial diversity from a total of 151 individuals. Our results show extremely limited diversity in field flies of different tsetse species. The obligate endosymbiont Wigglesworthia dominated all samples (>99%), but we also observed wide prevalence of low-density Sodalis (tsetse's commensal endosymbiont) infections (<0.05%). There were also several individuals (22%) with high Sodalis density, which also carried coinfections with Serratia. Albeit in low density, we noted differences in microbiota composition among the genetically distinct G. f. fuscipes flies and between different sympatric species. Interestingly, Wigglesworthia density varied in different species (104 to 106 normalized genomes), with G. f. fuscipes having the highest levels. We describe the factors that may be responsible for the reduced diversity of tsetse's gut microbiota compared to those of other insects. Additionally, we discuss the implications of Wigglesworthia and Sodalis density variations as they relate to trypanosome transmission dynamics and vector competence variations associated with different tsetse species.
PMCID: PMC4068677  PMID: 24814785
2.  Intercommunity effects on microbiome and GpSGHV density regulation in tsetse flies 
Journal of invertebrate pathology  2012;112(0):S32-S39.
Tsetse flies have a highly regulated and defined microbial fauna made of 3 bacterial symbionts (obligate Wigglesworthia glossinidia, commensal Sodalis glossinidius and parasitic Wolbachia pipientis) in addition to a DNA virus (Glossina pallidipes Salivary gland Hypertrophy Virus, GpSGHV). It has been possible to rear flies in the absence of either Wigglesworthia or in totally aposymbiotic state by dietary supplementation of tsetse’s bloodmeal. In the absence of Wigglesworthia, tsetse females are sterile, and adult progeny are immune compromised. The functional contributions for Sodalist are less known, while Wolbachia cause reproductive manupulations known as Cytoplasmic Incompatibility (CI). High GpSGHV virus titers result in reduced fecundity and lifespan, and have compromised efforts to colonize flies in the insectary for large rearing purposes. Here we investigated the within community effects on the density regulation of the individual microbiome partners in tsetse lines with different symbiotic compositions. We show that absence of Wigglesworthia results in loss of Sodalis in subsequent generations possibly due to nutritional dependancies between the symbiotic partners. While an initial decrease in Wolbachia and GpSGHV levels are also noted in the absence of Wigglesworthia, these infections eventually reach homeostatic levels indicating adaptations to the new host immune environment or nutritional ecology. Absence of all bacterial symbionts also results in an initial reduction of viral titers, which recover in the second generation. Our findings suggest that in addition to the host immune system, interdependencies between symbiotic partners result in a highly tuned density regulation for tsetse’s microbiome.
PMCID: PMC3772524  PMID: 22874746
symbiont; virus; intercommunity; tsetse
3.  OmpA-Mediated Biofilm Formation Is Essential for the Commensal Bacterium Sodalis glossinidius To Colonize the Tsetse Fly Gut 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(21):7760-7768.
Many bacteria successfully colonize animals by forming protective biofilms. Molecular processes that underlie the formation and function of biofilms in pathogenic bacteria are well characterized. In contrast, the relationship between biofilms and host colonization by symbiotic bacteria is less well understood. Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) house 3 maternally transmitted symbionts, one of which is a commensal (Sodalis glossinidius) found in several host tissues, including the gut. We determined that Sodalis forms biofilms in the tsetse gut and that this process is influenced by the Sodalis outer membrane protein A (OmpA). Mutant Sodalis strains that do not produce OmpA (Sodalis ΔOmpA mutants) fail to form biofilms in vitro and are unable to colonize the tsetse gut unless endogenous symbiotic bacteria are present. Our data indicate that in the absence of biofilms, Sodalis ΔOmpA mutant cells are exposed to and eliminated by tsetse's innate immune system, suggesting that biofilms help Sodalis evade the host immune system. Tsetse is the sole vector of pathogenic African trypanosomes, which also reside in the fly gut. Acquiring a better understanding of the dynamics that promote Sodalis colonization of the tsetse gut may enhance the development of novel disease control strategies.
PMCID: PMC3485708  PMID: 22941073
4.  Trypanosome Infection Establishment in the Tsetse Fly Gut Is Influenced by Microbiome-Regulated Host Immune Barriers 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003318.
Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.) vector pathogenic African trypanosomes, which cause sleeping sickness in humans and nagana in domesticated animals. Additionally, tsetse harbors 3 maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria that modulate their host's physiology. Tsetse is highly resistant to infection with trypanosomes, and this phenotype depends on multiple physiological factors at the time of challenge. These factors include host age, density of maternally-derived trypanolytic effector molecules present in the gut, and symbiont status during development. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms that result in tsetse's resistance to trypanosomes. We found that following parasite challenge, young susceptible tsetse present a highly attenuated immune response. In contrast, mature refractory flies express higher levels of genes associated with humoral (attacin and pgrp-lb) and epithelial (inducible nitric oxide synthase and dual oxidase) immunity. Additionally, we discovered that tsetse must harbor its endogenous microbiome during intrauterine larval development in order to present a parasite refractory phenotype during adulthood. Interestingly, mature aposymbiotic flies (GmmApo) present a strong immune response earlier in the infection process than do WT flies that harbor symbiotic bacteria throughout their entire lifecycle. However, this early response fails to confer significant resistance to trypanosomes. GmmApo adults present a structurally compromised peritrophic matrix (PM), which lines the fly midgut and serves as a physical barrier that separates luminal contents from immune responsive epithelial cells. We propose that the early immune response we observe in GmmApo flies following parasite challenge results from the premature exposure of gut epithelia to parasite-derived immunogens in the absence of a robust PM. Thus, tsetse's PM appears to regulate the timing of host immune induction following parasite challenge. Our results document a novel finding, which is the existence of a positive correlation between tsetse's larval microbiome and the integrity of the emerging adult PM gut immune barrier.
Author Summary
Tsetse flies serve as a host to many micro-organisms. Specifically, this fly houses beneficial endosymbiotic bacteria, and can also serve as a vector of pathogenic trypanosomes across much of sub-Saharan Africa. Although flies feed on parasite-infected reservoir hosts, only a small proportion (1–5%) of individuals that acquire an infectious meal become infected and subsequently transmit disease to a naïve host. Several physiological factors, including tsetse's age, nutritional status and innate immune mechanisms, contribute to trypanosome infection outcomes in the fly. We demonstrate that tsetse's endogenous microbiome also impacts the fly's resistance to parasites. Specifically, we show that tsetse must harbor it's symbiotic bacteria during larval development in order to present a trypanosome-refractory phenotype during adulthood. These microbes appear to indirectly regulate the fly's ability to immunologically detect and respond to the presence of trypanosomes. One of the mechanisms by which these microbes regulate parasite transmission involves modulating the formation of a physical barrier (called the ‘peritrophic matrix’) in their host's gut. Our findings are indicative of the complex functional association that exists between tsetse's symbiotic microbes and host immune mechanisms that regulate trypanosome infection outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3630092  PMID: 23637607
5.  Wolbachia association with the tsetse fly, Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, reveals high levels of genetic diversity and complex evolutionary dynamics 
Wolbachia pipientis, a diverse group of α-proteobacteria, can alter arthropod host reproduction and confer a reproductive advantage to Wolbachia-infected females (cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI)). This advantage can alter host population genetics because Wolbachia-infected females produce more offspring with their own mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes than uninfected females. Thus, these host haplotypes become common or fixed (selective sweep). Although simulations suggest that for a CI-mediated sweep to occur, there must be a transient phase with repeated initial infections of multiple individual hosts by different Wolbachia strains, this has not been observed empirically. Wolbachia has been found in the tsetse fly, Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, but it is not limited to a single host haplotype, suggesting that CI did not impact its population structure. However, host population genetic differentiation could have been generated if multiple Wolbachia strains interacted in some populations. Here, we investigated Wolbachia genetic variation in G. f. fuscipes populations of known host genetic composition in Uganda. We tested for the presence of multiple Wolbachia strains using Multi-Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) and for an association between geographic region and host mtDNA haplotype using Wolbachia DNA sequence from a variable locus, groEL (heat shock protein 60).
MLST demonstrated that some G. f. fuscipes carry Wolbachia strains from two lineages. GroEL revealed high levels of sequence diversity within and between individuals (Haplotype diversity = 0.945). We found Wolbachia associated with 26 host mtDNA haplotypes, an unprecedented result. We observed a geographical association of one Wolbachia lineage with southern host mtDNA haplotypes, but it was non-significant (p = 0.16). Though most Wolbachia-infected host haplotypes were those found in the contact region between host mtDNA groups, this association was non-significant (p = 0.17).
High Wolbachia sequence diversity and the association of Wolbachia with multiple host haplotypes suggest that different Wolbachia strains infected G. f. fuscipes multiple times independently. We suggest that these observations reflect a transient phase in Wolbachia evolution that is influenced by the long gestation and low reproductive output of tsetse. Although G. f. fuscipes is superinfected with Wolbachia, our data does not support that bidirectional CI has influenced host genetic diversity in Uganda.
PMCID: PMC3574847  PMID: 23384159
Wolbachia; Population structure; Sequence diversity; groEL; MLST
6.  Implications of Microfauna-Host Interactions for Trypanosome Transmission Dynamics in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(13):4627-4637.
Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are vectors for African trypanosomes (Euglenozoa: kinetoplastida), protozoan parasites that cause African trypanosomiasis in humans (HAT) and nagana in livestock. In addition to trypanosomes, two symbiotic bacteria (Wigglesworthia glossinidia and Sodalis glossinidius) and two parasitic microbes, Wolbachia and a salivary gland hypertrophy virus (SGHV), have been described in tsetse. Here we determined the prevalence of and coinfection dynamics between Wolbachia, trypanosomes, and SGHV in Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in Uganda over a large geographical scale spanning the range of host genetic and spatial diversity. Using a multivariate analysis approach, we uncovered complex coinfection dynamics between the pathogens and statistically significant associations between host genetic groups and pathogen prevalence. It is important to note that these coinfection dynamics and associations with the host were not apparent by univariate analysis. These associations between host genotype and pathogen are particularly evident for Wolbachia and SGHV where host groups are inversely correlated for Wolbachia and SGHV prevalence. On the other hand, trypanosome infection prevalence is more complex and covaries with the presence of the other two pathogens, highlighting the importance of examining multiple pathogens simultaneously before making generalizations about infection and spatial patterns. It is imperative to note that these novel findings would have been missed if we had employed the standard univariate analysis used in previous studies. Our results are discussed in the context of disease epidemiology and vector control.
PMCID: PMC3370491  PMID: 22544247
7.  Transcript Expression Analysis of Putative Trypanosoma brucei GPI-Anchored Surface Proteins during Development in the Tsetse and Mammalian Hosts 
Human African Trypanosomiasis is a devastating disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. Trypanosomes live extracellularly in both the tsetse fly and the mammal. Trypanosome surface proteins can directly interact with the host environment, allowing parasites to effectively establish and maintain infections. Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchoring is a common posttranslational modification associated with eukaryotic surface proteins. In T. brucei, three GPI-anchored major surface proteins have been identified: variant surface glycoproteins (VSGs), procyclic acidic repetitive protein (PARP or procyclins), and brucei alanine rich proteins (BARP). The objective of this study was to select genes encoding predicted GPI-anchored proteins with unknown function(s) from the T. brucei genome and characterize the expression profile of a subset during cyclical development in the tsetse and mammalian hosts. An initial in silico screen of putative T. brucei proteins by Big PI algorithm identified 163 predicted GPI-anchored proteins, 106 of which had no known functions. Application of a second GPI-anchor prediction algorithm (FragAnchor), signal peptide and trans-membrane domain prediction software resulted in the identification of 25 putative hypothetical proteins. Eighty-one gene products with hypothetical functions were analyzed for stage-regulated expression using semi-quantitative RT-PCR. The expression of most of these genes were found to be upregulated in trypanosomes infecting tsetse salivary gland and proventriculus tissues, and 38% were specifically expressed only by parasites infecting salivary gland tissues. Transcripts for all of the genes specifically expressed in salivary glands were also detected in mammalian infective metacyclic trypomastigotes, suggesting a possible role for these putative proteins in invasion and/or establishment processes in the mammalian host. These results represent the first large-scale report of the differential expression of unknown genes encoding predicted T. brucei surface proteins during the complete developmental cycle. This knowledge may form the foundation for the development of future novel transmission blocking strategies against metacyclic parasites.
Author Summary
Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a fatal disease caused by African trypanosomes and transmitted by an infected tsetse fly. Presently, there are no vaccines to prevent mammalian infections. Proteins expressed on the trypanosome surface can influence the host environment and allow for their transmission. Potentially accessible to the adaptive immune systems of vertebrate hosts, these proteins could serve as future vaccine targets. Identification and characterization of these currently unknown proteins can help us develop strategies to alter the host environment, making it inhospitable for the parasite, thereby reducing disease transmission. While there is extensive knowledge about trypanosome development in the mammalian host, less is known about the molecular events in the tsetse fly, particularly the salivary gland stages. We used an in silico approach to identify putative surface proteins from the known genome sequence of Trypanosoma brucei, and we describe the stage specific expression of these genes during development in the tsetse fly and mammalian host. Our findings show that a majority of unknown transcripts encoding predicted surface proteins are expressed by the parasites infecting tsetse salivary glands. These data will help focus future investigations into transmission-blocking approaches targeting the expressed antigens of trypanosomes infecting tsetse salivary glands.
PMCID: PMC3378594  PMID: 22724039
8.  Transcriptome analysis of reproductive tissue and intrauterine developmental stages of the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:160.
Tsetse flies, vectors of African trypanosomes, undergo viviparous reproduction (the deposition of live offspring). This reproductive strategy results in a large maternal investment and the deposition of a small number of progeny during a female's lifespan. The reproductive biology of tsetse has been studied on a physiological level; however the molecular analysis of tsetse reproduction requires deeper investigation. To build a foundation from which to base molecular studies of tsetse reproduction, a cDNA library was generated from female tsetse (Glossina morsitans morsitans) reproductive tissues and the intrauterine developmental stages. 3438 expressed sequence tags were sequenced and analyzed.
Analysis of a nonredundant catalogue of 1391 contigs resulted in 520 predicted proteins. 475 of these proteins were full length. We predict that 412 of these represent cytoplasmic proteins while 57 are secreted. Comparison of these proteins with other tissue specific tsetse cDNA libraries (salivary gland, fat body/milk gland, and midgut) identified 51 that are unique to the reproductive/immature cDNA library. 11 unique proteins were homologus to uncharacterized putative proteins within the NR database suggesting the identification of novel genes associated with reproductive functions in other insects (hypothetical conserved). The analysis also yielded seven putative proteins without significant homology to sequences present in the public database (unknown genes). These proteins may represent unique functions associated with tsetse's viviparous reproductive cycle. RT-PCR analysis of hypothetical conserved and unknown contigs was performed to determine basic tissue and stage specificity of the expression of these genes.
This paper identifies 51 putative proteins specific to a tsetse reproductive/immature EST library. 11 of these proteins correspond to hypothetical conserved genes and 7 proteins are tsetse specific.
PMCID: PMC2846916  PMID: 20214793
9.  The Obligate Mutualist Wigglesworthia glossinidia Influences Reproduction, Digestion, and Immunity Processes of Its Host, the Tsetse Fly▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(19):5965-5974.
Tsetse flies (Diptera: Glossinidae) are vectors for trypanosome parasites, the agents of the deadly sleeping sickness disease in Africa. Tsetse also harbor two maternally transmitted enteric mutualist endosymbionts: the primary intracellular obligate Wigglesworthia glossinidia and the secondary commensal Sodalis glossinidius. Both endosymbionts are transmitted to the intrauterine progeny through the milk gland secretions of the viviparous female. We administered various antibiotics either continuously by per os supplementation of the host blood meal diet or discretely by hemocoelic injections into fertile females in an effort to selectively eliminate the symbionts to study their individual functions. A symbiont-specific PCR amplification assay and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis were used to evaluate symbiont infection outcomes. Tetracycline and rifampin treatments eliminated all tsetse symbionts but reduced the fecundity of the treated females. Ampicillin treatments did not affect the intracellular Wigglesworthia localized in the bacteriome organ and retained female fecundity. The resulting progeny of ampicillin-treated females, however, lacked Wigglesworthia but still harbored the commensal Sodalis. Our results confirm the presence of two physiologically distinct Wigglesworthia populations: the bacteriome-localized Wigglesworthia involved with nutritional symbiosis and free-living Wigglesworthia in the milk gland organ responsible for maternal transmission to the progeny. We evaluated the reproductive fitness, longevity, digestion, and vectorial competence of flies that were devoid of Wigglesworthia. The absence of Wigglesworthia completely abolished the fertility of females but not that of males. Both the male and female Wigglesworthia-free adult progeny displayed longevity costs and were significantly compromised in their blood meal digestion ability. Finally, while the vectorial competence of the young newly hatched adults without Wigglesworthia was comparable to that of their wild-type counterparts, older flies displayed higher susceptibility to trypanosome infections, indicating a role for the mutualistic symbiosis in host immunobiology. The ability to rear adult tsetse that lack the obligate Wigglesworthia endosymbionts will now enable functional investigations into this ancient symbiosis.
PMCID: PMC2565960  PMID: 18689507
10.  Molecular aspects of transferrin expression in the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) 
Journal of insect physiology  2007;53(7):715-723.
Iron is an essential element for metabolic processes intrinsic to life, and yet the properties that make iron a necessity also make it potentially deleterious. To avoid harm, iron homeostasis is achieved via proteins involved in transport and storage of iron, one of which is transferrin. We describe the temporal and spatial aspects of transferrin (GmmTsf) expression and its transcriptional regulation in tsetse where both the male and female are strictly hematophagous. Using Northern, Western and immunohistochemical analysis, we show that GmmTsf is abundant in the hemolymph and is expressed in the adult developmental stages of male and female insects. It is preferentially expressed in the female milk gland tubules and its expression appears to be cyclical and possibly regulated in synchrony with the oogenic and/or larvigenic cycle. Although no mRNA is detected, GmmTsf protein is present in the immature stages of development, apparently being transported into the intrauterine larva from the mother via the milk gland ducts. Transferrin is also detected in the vitellogenic ovary and the adult male testes, further supporting its classification as a vitellogenic protein. Similar to reports in other insects, transferrin mRNA levels increase upon bacterial challenge in tsetse suggesting that transferrin may play an additional role in immunity. Although transferrin expression is induced following bacterial challenge, it is significantly reduced in tsetse carrying midgut trypanosome infections. Analysis of tsetse that have cured the parasite challenge shows normal levels of GmmTsf. This observation suggests that the parasite in competing for the availability of limited dietary iron may manipulate host gene expression.
PMCID: PMC2065764  PMID: 17498733
Viviparous reproduction; larvigenesis; oogenesis; tsetse; transferrin; trypanosome

Results 1-10 (10)