Title

Novel Asaia bogorensis Signal Sequences for Plasmodium Inhibition in Anopheles stephensi

DOI

10.3389/fmicb.2021.633667

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Publication Title

Frontiers in microbiology

Keywords

Anopheles, Asaia, Plasmodium, malaria, paratransgenesis, secretion

Abstract

Mosquitoes vector many pathogens that cause human disease, such as malaria that is caused by parasites in the genus . Current strategies to control vector-transmitted diseases are hindered by mosquito and pathogen resistance, so research has turned to altering the microbiota of the vectors. In this strategy, called , symbiotic bacteria are genetically modified to affect the mosquito's phenotype by engineering them to deliver antiplasmodial effector molecules into the midgut to kill parasites. One paratransgenesis candidate is , a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium colonizing the midgut, ovaries, and salivary glands of sp. mosquitoes. However, common secretion signals from and closely related species do not function in . Here, we report evaluation of 20 native N-terminal signal sequences predicted from bioinformatics for their ability to mediate increased levels of antiplasmodial effector molecules directed to the periplasm and ultimately outside the cell. We tested the hypothesis that by increasing the amount of antiplasmodials released from the cell we would also increase parasite killing power. We scanned the SF2.1 genome to identify signal sequences from extra-cytoplasmic proteins and fused these to the reporter protein alkaline phosphatase. Six signals resulted in significant levels of protein released from the bacterium. Three signals were successfully used to drive the release of the antimicrobial peptide, scorpine. Further testing in mosquitoes demonstrated that these three strains were able to suppress the number of oocysts formed after a blood meal containing to a significantly greater degree than wild-type , although prevalence was not decreased beyond levels obtained with a previously isolated siderophore receptor signal sequence. We interpret these results to indicate that there is a maximum level of suppression that can be achieved when the effectors are constitutively driven due to stress on the symbionts. This suggests that simply increasing the amount of antiplasmodial effector molecules in the midgut is insufficient to create superior paratransgenic bacterial strains and that symbiont fitness must be considered as well.

Open Access

Gold

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