The fungus Leptosphaerulina persists in Anopheles gambiae and induces melanization

Godfrey Nattoh, Joel L Bargul, Gabriel Magoma, Lilian Mbaisi, Hellen Butungi, Enock Mararo, Evan Teal, Jeremy Keith Herren

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Anopheles mosquitoes are colonized by diverse microorganisms that may impact on host biology and vectorial capacity. Eukaryotic symbionts such as fungi have been isolated from Anopheles, but whether they are stably associated with mosquitoes and transmitted transstadially across mosquito life stages or to subsequent generations remains largely unexplored. Here, we show that a Leptosphaerulina sp. fungus isolated from the midgut of An. gambiae can be stably associated with An. gambiae host and that it imposes low fitness cost when re-introduced through co-feeding. This fungus is transstadially transmitted across An. gambiae developmental stages and to their progeny. It is present in field-caught larvae and adult mosquitoes at moderate levels across geographical regions. We observed that Leptosphaerulina sp. induces a distinctive melanotic phenotype across the developmental stages of mosquito. As a eukaryotic symbiont that is stably associated with An. gambiae Leptosphaerulina sp. can be explored for paratransgenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0246452
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2021


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