Microbial interactions in the mosquito gut determine Serratia colonization and blood-feeding propensity

Elena V. Kozlova, Shivanand Hegde, Christopher M. Roundy, George Golovko, Miguel A. Saldaña, Charles E. Hart, Enyia R. Anderson, Emily A. Hornett, Kamil Khanipov, Vsevolod L. Popov, Maria Pimenova, Yiyang Zhou, Yuriy Fovanov, Scott C. Weaver, Andrew Routh, Eva Heinz, Grant Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


How microbe–microbe interactions dictate microbial complexity in the mosquito gut is unclear. Previously we found that, Serratia, a gut symbiont that alters vector competence and is being considered for vector control, poorly colonized Aedes aegypti yet was abundant in Culex quinquefasciatus reared under identical conditions. To investigate the incompatibility between Serratia and Ae. aegypti, we characterized two distinct strains of Serratia marcescens from Cx. quinquefasciatus and examined their ability to infect Ae. aegypti. Both Serratia strains poorly infected Ae. aegypti, but when microbiome homeostasis was disrupted, the prevalence and titers of Serratia were similar to the infection in its native host. Examination of multiple genetically diverse Ae. aegypti lines found microbial interference to S. marcescens was commonplace, however, one line of Ae. aegypti was susceptible to infection. Microbiome analysis of resistant and susceptible lines indicated an inverse correlation between Enterobacteriaceae bacteria and Serratia, and experimental co-infections in a gnotobiotic system recapitulated the interference phenotype. Furthermore, we observed an effect on host behavior; Serratia exposure to Ae. aegypti disrupted their feeding behavior, and this phenotype was also reliant on interactions with their native microbiota. Our work highlights the complexity of host–microbe interactions and provides evidence that microbial interactions influence mosquito behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-108
Number of pages16
JournalISME Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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