Research characterizing arthropod-associated microbiota has revealed that microbial dynamics can have an important impact on host phenotypic traits. The influence of fungi on these interactions are emerging as targets for research, especially in organisms associated with global human health. A recent study demonstrated colonization of a widespread gut fungus (Zancudomyces culisetae) in a larval mosquito (Aedes aegypti) digestive tract affected microbiomes in larvae and newly emerged adult females (Frankel-Bricker et al. Appl Environ Microbiol, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02334-19) but did not investigate these processes in males. The objective of the study presented here was to assess fungal influences on adult male mosquito microbiomes to enable a more complete assessment of fungal–bacterial–host interactions in the A. aegypti–Z. culisetae system. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from microbiomes harbored in adult males directly after emerging from pupae revealed larval fungal exposure significantly decreased overall microbial community diversity, altered microbiome composition and structure, and decreased within-group microbiome variation across individuals. Further, bacteria in the family Burkholderiaceae were present in high abundance in fungal-exposed males, likely contributing to the disparate microbiota between treatment groups. Comparisons between male and the female microbiomes analyzed in Frankel-Bricker et al. (2020), showed distinct shifts in bacterial communities incurred by larval exposure to fungi, potentially revealing sex-specific fungal–bacterial–host dynamics in A. aegypti. These findings highlight the complex role a gut fungus can play in influencing the microbial communities harbored in an important insect and emphasize the significance of accounting for an organism’s sex when studying fungal–bacterial–host dynamics.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Scientific Reports. The final authenticated version is available online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69828-9
Frankel-Bricker, Jonas. (2020). "Shifts in the Microbiota Associated with Male Mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) Exposed to an Obligate Gut Fungal Symbiont (Zancudomyces culisetae)". Scientific Reports, 10(1), 12886-1 - 12886-11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69828-9
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