A comparative analysis of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti subjected to diapause-inducing conditions reveals conserved and divergent aspects associated with diapause, as well as novel genes associated with its onset

Curr Res Insect Sci. 2022 Oct 3;2:100047. doi: 10.1016/j.cris.2022.100047. eCollection 2022.


Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti are mosquito species that are distributed worldwide and transmit diverse arboviruses of medical importance, such as those causing yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and Zika. A. albopictus embryos may remain viable for long periods in the environment due to their ability to become dormant through quiescence or diapause, a feature that contributes to their dispersion and hinders control actions. Diapause incidence can vary among natural populations of A. albopictus, but metabolic and genetic parameters associated with its induction still need to be better defined. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of exposure to diapause-inducing conditions on several biological parameters in different populations of A. albopictus (from tropical and temperate areas) and the diapause-refractory A. aegypti (tropical and subtropical populations). As expected, only the A. albopictus populations exhibited diapause, but with a lower incidence for the population from a tropical area. Exposure to diapause-inducing conditions, however, led to a sharp reduction in fecundity for both A. albopictus and A. aegypti tropical populations, with no effect on fertility (>90%). It also led to a prolonged period as pupae for the progeny of all induced groups, with a further delay for those from temperate climates. In all those induced groups, the lipid contents in eggs and adult females were higher than in the non-induced controls, with the highest values observed for both A. albopictus groups. Three genes were selected to have their expression profile investigated: cathepsin, idgf4, and pepck. Upon exposure to diapause-inducing conditions, all three genes were upregulated in the A. albopictus embryos from the tropical region, but only idgf4 was upregulated in the temperate climate embryos. This represents a new gene associated with diapause that can be used as a target to evaluate and prevent embryonic dormancy, a possible new vector control strategy for mosquito species from temperate areas, such as A. albopictus.

Keywords: adaptation; dormancy; eggs viability; embryogenesis; fitness cost.