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Modulation of trypanosome establishment in Glossina palpalis palpalis by its microbiome in the Campo sleeping sickness focus, Cameroon

Ngambia Freitas F.S., Njiokou F., Tsagmo Ngoune J.M., Sempere G., Berthier D., Geiger A.. 2021. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 90 : 11 p..

DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104763

The purpose of this study was to investigate factors involved in vector competence by analyzing whether the diversity and relative abundance of the different bacterial genera inhabiting the fly's gut could be associated with its trypanosome infection status. This was investigated on 160 randomly selected G. p. palpalis flies - 80 trypanosome-infected, 80 uninfected - collected in 5 villages of the Campo trypanosomiasis focus in South Cameroon. Trypanosome species were identified using specific primers, and the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene of bacteria was targeted for metabarcoding analysis in order to identify the bacteria and determine microbiome composition. A total of 261 bacterial genera were identified of which only 114 crossed two barriers: a threshold of 0.01% relative abundance and the presence at least in 5 flies. The secondary symbiont Sodalis glossinidius was identified in 50% of the flies but it was not considered since its relative abundance was much lower than the 0.01% relative abundance threshold. The primary symbiont Wigglesworthia displayed 87% relative abundance, the remaining 13% were prominently constituted by the genera Spiroplasma, Tediphilus, Acinetobacter and Pseudomonas. Despite a large diversity in bacterial genera and in their abundance observed in micobiome composition, the statistical analyzes of the 160 tsetse flies showed an association with flies' infection status and the sampling sites. Furthermore, tsetse flies harboring Trypanosoma congolense Savanah type displayed a different composition of bacterial flora compared to uninfected flies. In addition, our study revealed that 36 bacterial genera were present only in uninfected flies, which could therefore suggest a possible involvement in flies' refractoriness; with the exception of Cupriavidus, they were however of low relative abundance. Some genera, including Acinetobacter, Cutibacterium, Pseudomonas and Tepidiphilus, although present both in infected and uninfected flies, were found to be associated with uninfected status of tsetse flies. Hence their effective role deserves to be further evaluated in order to determine whether some of them could become targets for tsetse control of fly vector competence and consequently for the control of the disease. Finally, when comparing the bacterial genera identified in tsetse flies collected during 4 epidemiological surveys, 39 genera were found to be common to flies from at least 2 sampling campaigns.

Mots-clés : glossina palpalis; trypanosomose; flore bactérienne; vecteur de maladie; maladie infectieuse; cameroun; glossina palpalis palpalis; microbiome; barcoding moléculaire

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