Midgut Microbial Community of <i>Culex quinquefasciatus</i> Mosquito Populations from India

<div><p>The mosquito <i>Culex quinquefasciatus</i> is a ubiquitous species that serves as a major vector for west nile virus and lymphatic filariasis. Ingestion of bloodmeal by females triggers a series of physiological processes in the midgut and also exposes them to infection by these pathogens. The bacteria normally harbored in the midgut are known to influence physiology and can also alter the response to various pathogens. The midgut bacteria in female <i>Cx. quinquefasciatus</i> mosquitoes collected over a large geographical area from India was studied. Examination of 16S ribosomal DNA amplicons from culturable microflora revealed the presence of 83 bacterial species belonging to 31 bacterial genera. All of these species belong to three phyla i.e. Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Actinobacteria. Phylum Proteobacteria was the most dominant phylum (37 species), followed by Firmicutes (33 species) and Actinobacteria (13 species). Phylum Proteobacteria, was dominated by members of γ-proteobacteria class. The genus <i>Staphylococcus</i> was the largest genus represented by 11 species whereas <i>Enterobacter</i> was the most prevalent genus and recovered from all the field stations except Leh. Highest bacterial prevalence was observed from Bhuj (22 species) followed by Nagrota (18 species), Masimpur (18 species) and Hathigarh (16 species). Whereas, least species were observed from Leh (8 species). It has been observed that individual mosquito harbor extremely diverse gut bacteria and have very small overlap bacterial taxa in their gut. This variation in midgut microbiota may be one of the factors responsible for variation in disease transmission rates or vector competence within mosquito population. The present data strongly encourage further investigations to verify the potential role of the detected bacteria in mosquito for the transmission of lymphatic filariasis and west nile virus. To the best of our knowledge this is the first study on midgut microbiota of wild <i>Cx. quinquefasciatus</i> from over a large geographical area.</p></div>