List of bacterial genera associated with
An ecosystem is composed of a biological community and its physical environment. A unique ecosystem is the metazoan digestive tract, which contains and interacts with many microorganisms, e.g. a single human gut contains 1013-1014 bacteria belonging to hundreds of species [4, 5]. These microorganisms are important for the host physiology, particularly in shaping the mucosal immune system  and protecting the host against infections by colonization resistance .
The term microbiota defines the microbial communities that live in contact with the body epithelia. They are composed of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and protists. To date, the bacterial component of the microbiota is the most studied and best characterized. Studies from
The mosquito gut microbiota has recently emerged as an important factor of resistance against pathogens. In particular, midgut bacteria have been shown to have a substantial negative impact on malaria parasite burden through colonization mechanisms involving either direct
In this chapter, we provide an overview on the current knowledge of the composition of the
2. The diversity of the
The microbiota composition has been studied in several anophelines mainly by culturing or sequencing of the 16S rRNA [14, 18, 20, 22-41]. Together, studies on field-collected or laboratory-reared mosquitoes identified as many as 98 bacterial genera excluding genera of low abundance identified by high-throughput sequencing analyses (Table 1). Of these, 41 genera were found in more than one
Three metagenomics studies were recently carried out using 16S RNA from bacteria found in the
These studies led to 5 main observations. First, the microbiota diversity is high: when defining species as OTU97%, V1-V3 As not all the studies were based on the same region of 16S or the same threshold of differences, we refer here to OTU97%, V1-V3 as the operational taxonomic unit with more than 97% identity in the V1-V3 regions of 16S rRNA gene sequences.
As not all the studies were based on the same region of 16S or the same threshold of differences, we refer here to OTU97%, V1-V3 as the operational taxonomic unit with more than 97% identity in the V1-V3 regions of 16S rRNA gene sequences.
Second, this diversity is partially explained by significant diversity within a single mosquito [22, 37], varying from 5 to 71 OTUs97%, V3 per individual (median: 42 OTUs97%, V3) . Diversity is higher than what observed by metagenomics studies in other insects such as the honeybee which hosts 8 dominant species (OTU97%, V6-V8), the estimated species richness within a colony being 9-10 , and
Third, another component of the observed biodiversity lies within the high variability in microbial communities between individuals. This is quantified by calculating the UniFrac distance between mosquitoes. UniFrac varies from 0 when two mosquitoes have exactly the same microbiota to 1 when there is no phylogenetic overlap between the microbiota of two mosquitoes. The mean UniFrac distance between individuals is high, 0.72 and 0.74 in
Fourth, the microbiota composition partly reflects the larval origin but bacteria acquired during adulthood may affect the microbiota composition to the extent that the geographic origin cannot be traced. Osei-Poku and co-workers did not observe any correlation between geographic location and microbiota composition in their Kenyan adult collections . This is in sharp contrast to the Boissière et al. observations that microbiota were more similar between adults derived from larvae breading in the same pond than between adults derived from larvae of different geographic origins . These results are, however, not contradictory if we consider differences in experimental designs of these studies. The latter study focused almost exclusively on bacteria transmitted from larvae to adults since larvae from the field were sampled and adults where fed with sterile sugar upon emergence, while the former study additionally sampled bacteria acquired during adulthood, and related to presumably diverse adult life histories. Together, these studies suggest that the acquisition of new strains of bacteria during adulthood can potentially increase the inter-individual diversity and mask similarities linked to the larval origin. However, this hypothesis requires further investigation, as mosquitoes from the two geographical origins reported in the Boissière et al. study belonged to the M and S molecular forms of
Fifth, when considering the
3. Bacterial colonization of mosquitoes
In addition to metagenomics studies, factors determining the composition of the adult mosquito microbiota were also investigated by conventional methods. Evidence that mosquitoes are colonized by bacteria both found in the environment and transmitted between individuals or developmental stages was revealed, but the relative contribution of these transmission routes to the microbiota diversity remains largely unknown. Laboratory studies investigated the vertical (from parent to progeny), transstadial (between developmental stages) and horizontal (between individuals of the same stage) transmission of specific bacterial strains. In particular, horizontal transfer of
Two mechanisms are thought to be involved in gut sterilization during adult emergence . Firstly, bacteria are enclosed in the degenerated larval midgut, the meconium, enveloped by 2 meconial peritrophic matrixes and egested during molting. Secondly, during emergence, adults ingest exuvial liquid that has bactericidal properties. Nevertheless, sterilisation is thought to be incomplete, thus allowing some direct transmission from pupae to adults  and being responsible for the contribution of the larval/pupal breading sites to the adult microbiota, as mentioned earlier . Moreover, emerging adults have been reported to ingest water and uptake bacteria during or shortly after emergence, with colonization efficiencies depending on the bacterial strains, e.g.
Non-bacterial members of the
4. Impact of microbiota on
Anopheles physiology and pathogen transmission
The studies reviewed above suggest that
An aspect of the
As mentioned above,
The immune system of
In several insect species, microbiota are shown to also impact on host behavior. Notably,
5. Potential exploitations to reduce
Anopheles vector competence
Reduction of the
A direct way to reduce vector competence using our current knowledge of the
An alternative approach is paratransgenesis, the introduction of genetically modified bacteria into the vector, which would confer resistance to pathogens.
Finally, transmission-blocking interventions could involve drugs or other interventions that would impact on the microbiota, thus affecting mosquito homeostasis and efficiency of pathogen development. For example, the effects of antibiotics in the human blood could significantly impact the mosquito microbiota upon blood feeding, indirectly influencing mosquito physiology and infection with pathogens. Depending on its spectrum, an antibiotic could influence the microbiota composition and thus have a positive or negative impact on pathogen development and/or replication.
Recent high-throughput sequencing studies of the
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- As not all the studies were based on the same region of 16S or the same threshold of differences, we refer here to OTU97%, V1-V3 as the operational taxonomic unit with more than 97% identity in the V1-V3 regions of 16S rRNA gene sequences.