Wolbachia Diversity And Cytoplasmic Incompatibility Patterns In Culex Pipiens Populations In Turkey
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Background Wolbachia are maternally transmitted bacteria that can manipulate their hosts’ reproduction causing cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI). CI is a sperm-egg incompatibility resulting in embryonic death. Due to this sterilising effect on mosquitoes, Wolbachia are considered for vector control strategies. Important vectors for arboviruses, filarial nematodes and avian malaria, mosquitoes of Culex pipiens complex are suitable for Wolbachia-based vector control. They are infected with Wolbachia wPip strains belonging to five genetically distinct groups (wPip-I to V) within the Wolbachia B supergroup. CI properties of wPip strongly correlate with this genetic diversity: mosquitoes infected with wPip strains from a different wPip group are more likely to be incompatible with each other. Turkey is a critical spot for vector-borne diseases due to its unique geographical position as a natural bridge between Asia, Europe and Africa. However, general wPip diversity, distribution and CI patterns in natural Cx. pipiens (s.l.) populations in the region are unknown. In this study, we first identified wPip diversity in Turkish Cx. pipiens (s.l.) populations, by assigning them to one of the five groups within wPip (wPip-Ito V). We further investigated CI properties between different wPip strains from this region. Results We showed a wPip fixation in Cx. pipiens (s.l.) populations in Turkey by analysing 753 samples from 59 sampling sites. Three wPip groups were detected in the region: wPip-I, wPip-II and wPip-IV. The most dominant group was wPip-II. While wPip-IV was restricted to only two locations, wPip-I and wPip-II had wider distributions. Individuals infected with wPip-II were found co-existing with individuals infected with wPip-I or wPip-IV in some sampling sites. Two mosquito isofemale lines harbouring either a wPip-I or a wPip-II strain were established from a population in northwestern Turkey. Reciprocal crosses between these lines showed that they were fully compatible with each other but bidirectionally incompatible with wPip-IV Istanbul infected line. Conclusion Our findings reveal a high diversity of wPip and CI properties in Cx. pipiens (s.l.) populations in Turkey. Knowledge on naturally occurring CI patterns caused by wPip diversity in Turkey might be useful for Cx. pipiens (s.l.) control in the region.