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Effects of Helicosporidia on Mosquitoes


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EFFECTS OF HELICOSPORIDIA ON MOSQUITOES By TRACY M. CONKLIN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Tracy M. Conklin

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Dr. Drion Boucias for mentor ing me through my undergraduate and graduate education. I thank Dr. James Becnel for his expert advice and encouragement. I also thank Dr. Verena-Ulrike Lietze; I would have been lo st without her kind help. I extend special thanks to Steven Arias, Allison McGee, Natalie VanHoose, Jessica Noling, and Heather Furlong for their technical support. I am deeply indebted to Genie White for her suggestions and statistical expe rtise. I also thank James Colee and Janice Cole for their help with the statistics. I al so thank my parents and my friends for their prayers, love, listening ea rs, and wake-up calls.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................................5 Helicosporidium History..............................................................................................5 Identification of Helicosporidium as an Insect Pathogenic Alga.................................7 Pathology....................................................................................................................11 Infection Cycle....................................................................................................11 Host Response.....................................................................................................15 Host Records and Ecology..........................................................................................17 Helicosporidium and Mosquitoes...............................................................................18 Biocontrol Potential....................................................................................................21 In Vivo Production..............................................................................................21 In Vitro Production..............................................................................................22 Storage and Stability............................................................................................23 3 MATERIALS AND METHODS...............................................................................31 Preparation of Helicosporidium ..................................................................................31 Cyst Amplification..............................................................................................31 In Vitro Dehiscence.............................................................................................32 Host Range..................................................................................................................32 Age Susceptibility.......................................................................................................33 Food Concentration Bioassays...................................................................................35 Host Development......................................................................................................35 Statistical Analyses.....................................................................................................36

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v 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................37 Cyst Amplification and Dehiscence...........................................................................37 Host Range..................................................................................................................37 Age Susceptibility.......................................................................................................38 Food Concentration Bioassays...................................................................................39 Host Development......................................................................................................40 5 DISCUSSION.............................................................................................................51 APPENDIX A MEASUREMENT DATA..........................................................................................60 B CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUITO BREEDERS....................................................62 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................70

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vi LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Side-by-side comparison of the fila mentous cell of Helicosporidium and the polar-capsule filament of Cn idosporidia (Microsporidia)........................................25 2-2 Natural hosts of Helicosporidium ............................................................................29 2-3 Laboratory-produced Helicosporidium infections...................................................29 2-4 Summary of bioassay methods fo r four major mosquito studies.............................29 2-5 The IC50 of first instar larvae as recorded for various isolates and species..............30 2-6 Cyst production in different hosts............................................................................30 4-1 Average SD results of assays with An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to 1 104 cysts/mL..................................................................42 4-2 Logistic regression of host range bioassay data.......................................................43 4-3 Average SD corrected percent mortal ity at 7 days post-exposure for four instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidium .......................................43 4-4 Average SD corrected percent infec tion of surviving larvae at 7 days postexposure for different instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidia.......43 4-5 Logistic regression of ag e susceptibility by instar...................................................44 4-6 Mean SD percent mortality a nd infection in 2, 12, and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti after exposure to SjHe..............................................................................................44 4-7 Logistic regression of Ae. aegypti bioassay data......................................................44 4-8 Mean SD infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure of Ae. aegypti exposed as first instars to four dosages of SjHe.....................................................................45 4-9 Logistic regression of percent inf ection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure...........45 4-10 Mean SD adult male:female ratio of Ae. aegypti at 3 weeks post-exposure to 2 dosages of SjHe........................................................................................................47

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vii 4-11 Corrected percent mortality over time of Ae. aegypti at three dosages of SjHe and four food levels..................................................................................................48 4-12 Mean ( SD) corrected percent mortality in Aedes aegypti 7 days after exposure to SjHe at four different food levels and three dosages of helicosporidia...............49 4-13 Mean ( SD) infection rates in surviving Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to three dosages of SjHe at four different food levels..................................................50 4-14 Mean ( SD) fixed, FITC-l abeled cysts ingested per Ae. aegypti larva exposed to 1 105 cysts/mL at three food levels.......................................................................50 A-1 Compiled cyst measurements...................................................................................60 A-2 Compiled filamentous cell measurements................................................................61

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Cell types and structures of Helicosporidia..............................................................26 2-2 Initial infection events and de velopment of the filamentous cell.............................27 2-3 Filament development in vivo within a hemocyte...................................................28 2-4 Pamelloid colony formed in vitro after several media transfers..............................28 4-1 Percent dehiscence of five cyst prep arations purified January through April 2005..........................................................................................................................41 4-2 Regression of percent corrected mortality and infection on percent dehiscence of cyst preparation at time of exposure........................................................................42 4-3 Percent mortality over time of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to two dosages of SjHe..........................................................................................................................46 4-4 Average control proportion of larv ae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti 1-3 weeks post-exposure..........................................................................................46 4-5 Average proportion of larvae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti at 1-3 weeks post exposure.................................................................................................47 4-6 Percent mortality at 2 days post-exposure of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to three dosages of Helicosporidia and four food levels..............................................49 B-1 Finished mosquito breeder.......................................................................................64

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science EFFECTS OF HELICOSPORIDIA ON MOSQUITOES By Tracy M. Conklin May 2006 Chair: Drion G. Boucias Major Department: Entomology and Nematology The Helicosporidia are a poorly understood group of pathogens that have been detected worldwide in diverse groups of invertebrates. Discovered in 1921, their taxonomic position was debated until 2002, when it was determined that Helicosporidia are algae. Related to the vertebrate pathogen Prototheca wickerhamii Tubaki & Soneda, Helicosporidium represents the first described algal genus of invertebrate pathogens. The Helicosporidia are unique in that they produce a characteristic cyst stage composed of one elongate filamentous cell wrapped around three ovoid cells within a pellicle. On ingestion by a host, the cyst dehisces, releasing the filament ous cell and ovoid cells from the pellicle. The filamentous cell penetrat es the midgut epithelium of the host and differentiates into the vegetative cell phe notype. Vegetative stages develop in the hemocoel via autosporulation, and eventually form cysts. Recently, a new isolate of Helicosporidium was discovered in Florida that infects the blackfly Simulium jonesi Stone & Snoddy Bioassays were conducted with this blackfly isolate (SjHe) against Aedes aegypti L. and Anopheles quadrimaculatus (Say).

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x Both species were infected at 7 days postexposure. However, exposure to SjHe caused melanization and high early mortality in both species. There was also high variation in infectivity and mortality in all bioassays. In vitro dehiscence rates varied from one cyst preparation to the next, and may account for the high levels of variation. Aedes aegypti was selected for further bioassays due to low control mortality and synchronous development in this species. In Ae. aegypti susceptibility decreased significantly after the first instar and also within the first instar with age. Most infected individuals died as fourth instar larvae; thus infected pup ae and adults were rare. Infection did not significantly increase in Ae. aegypti maintained up to 3 weeks post-exposure. Susceptibility also decrease d with increasing food availa bility during exposure. Food acted as a diluent, reducing the number of cysts ingested. Time to pupation was not significantly delayed in inf ected, individually reared Ae. aegypti The presence of melanization, high initial mortality, and the hi gh dosages necessary to achieve infection indicated a non-host in teraction. This inter action was unexpected and contradicts the widely-held assumption that the He licosporidia are not host-specific.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Since the first description by Keilin (1921) invertebrate pathogens in the genus Helicosporidium have been detected worldwide in diverse groups of invertebrates, including several orders of insects, mite s, crustaceans, oligochaete worms, and trematodes (Sayre and Clark 1978; Purrini 1984; Avery and Undeen 1987b; Pekkarinen 1993). Until recently, their taxonomic posit ion remained unclear. Keilin (1921) tentatively described Helicosporidium parasiticum as a protozoan, but Weiser (1970) proposed that the Helicosporidia were best placed among the lower fungi. Most recently, Boucias et al. (2001) suggeste d that the vegetative devel opment of Helicosporidia was similar to the autosporogenic growth of uni cellular algae. Significan tly, genetic analysis defined the genus Helicosporidium as a member of the green algal class Trebouxiophyceae (Chlorophyta) and, as such, it re presents a novel clade of invertebrate pathogens (Boucias et al. 2001; Tartar et al. 2002, 2003; Tart ar 2004; Tartar and Boucias 2004; de Koning and Keeling 2004). The tr ebouxiophyte green algae are generally photosynthetic and free-living. Howe ver, the closes t relatives to Helicosporidium (the genus Prototheca ) are achlorophyllous algae that have evolved a heterotrophic life style, opportunistically infecting vertebrates. The infectious cyst, the stage that defines the genus Helicosporidium comprises three ovoid cells and a coiled, elongate, filame ntous cell enclosed in an outer pellicle. The cyst dehisces when ingested by the insect hostthe pellicle ru ptures, releasing the filamentous cell and the three ovoid cells. The invasive filamentous cells pass through the

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2 midgut epithelial layer and gain ingress to the hemocoel. Within the hemocoel, the filamentous cells differentiate into vegeta tive cells, which undergo autosporogenic cell divisions (Blske-Lietze et al. in press). Vegetative cells ha ve been observed to replicate within the phagocytic hemocytes and to develop extracellularl y in the hemolymph (Blske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). After multip le, 2to 8-cell autosporogenic cell divisions, a portion of the he molymph-borne vegetative cell s differentiates into cysts (Blske-Lietze et al. in press). Boucias et al. (2001) reported on a Helicosporidium sp. isolated from a simuliid ( Simulium jonesi Stone & Snoddy) by J. Becnel at United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) in Gainesville, Florida. This represents the fourth non-culici d nematoceran host record for Helicosporidium Five species of mosquitoes have been found to be naturally infected by Helicosporidium However, of the five recorded culicid isolates, only three have been examined in detail. Fukuda et al. (1976) found that a Helicosporidium sp. from Culex nigripalpus Theobald was infectious to 17 species of mosquitoes and 6 species of insects. Hembree (1979, 1981) discovered Helicosporidia infecting Aedes aegypti (L.) and Culex quinquefasciatus Say in Thailand and later evaluated the infectiv ity and biological cont rol potential of this isolate. Seif and Rifaat (2001) perfor med a similar study with an isolate from Culex pipiens L. from Egypt. Bioassays with mosquitoes have also been performed with other isolates. Fukuda (1976) also re ported melanization in mosquito es infected with a beetle isolate. Avery and Undeen (1987b) studied th e effects of a pond wa ter isolate on three species of mosquitoes, noting melanization and high initial mortality. The simuliid isolate (designated SjHe), the subject of our study, has been assa yed against six species of

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3 Diptera, three species of Lepidoptera, and a weevil (Boucias et al. 2001; Blske-Lietze et al. in press; Conklin et al. 2005). The objective of our study was to further characterize mosquitoHelicosporidium interactions; particularly, those involving early mortality and the effect of larval age and food availability on early mortality, total mortality, and infection. Early mortality (defined as death before th e production of cysts) was commo n in mosquitoes exposed to SjHe and a pond water isolate of Helicosporidium (Avery and Undeen 1987b; Conklin et al. 2005). Their studies suggested that early mortality and melanization indicated that mosquitoes were unsuitable hosts for these tw o isolates. With other mosquito isolates, mortality occurred at the larval-pupal inte rface. The early mortality observed by Avery and Undeen (1987b) and Conklin et al. ( 2005) may have been due to septicemia facilitated by ingress of the filamentous cel l and may be mitigated by larval age or food level during exposure. In fact, age-based resistance to infect ion has been reported in three mosquito isolates of Helicosporidium (Fukuda et al 1976; Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001). The effect of food availability on su sceptibility has never been addressed for Helicosporidium but food levels may influence the number of cysts ingested. Also, the presence of plant chemicals in th e diet may alter the viability of Helicosporidium in the gut. Finally, we also addressed the effect of Helicosporidium infection on development. Developmental delay due to infection has been noted in lepidopterans (Blske and Boucias 2004), and a weevil (Conklin et al 2005) but has not been quantified for mosquitoes, which have a shorter larval pe riod than these other hosts. Hembree (1981) stated that development of infected Ae. aegypti was delayed 1 to 2 da ys, but did not offer

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4 any data on host development. Conklin et al. (2005) presented head capsule measurements of mosquitoes exposed to Helicosporidium which indicated that development was affected Ae. aegypti but not in An. quadrimaculatus Data gathered from our experiments provide much-needed insight into the effect of Helicosporidium on mosquitoes and early mortality in mosquitoes exposed to Helicosporidium

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5 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Helicosporidium History Helicosporidium was discovered in 1921 by D. Keilin parasitizing larvae of a ceratopogonid, Dasyhelea obscura (Winn.). Keilin (1921) descri bed this new pathogen in great detail using fixed smears and s ections. His hypothesi zed life cycle of Helicosporidium parasiticum included dehiscence of the spore by the filament, invasion of the host by the ingested sporozoites, ve getative replication in the host hemocoel, and reformation of cysts (which later released th eir filaments and sporozoites after successive drying and wetting of the dead insect). Keilin (1921) admitted that the questi on of the systematic position of Helicosporidium was difficult, ruling out its easy cl assification into the Cnidiosporidia (Sporozoa), Haplosporidia, Serumsporidia, and Mycetozoa. Keilin (1921) compared the polar capsule of Microsporidia and the spiral filament of Helicosporidium (Figure 2-1), concluding that the similarities between these two groups were superficial. The Haplosporidia, he argued, have a plasmodium stage and cysts surrounding the spores, both of which never appear in Helicosporidium Also, the spores of the Haplosporidia are unicellular, unlike the four heterogeneous cells found in Helicosporidium In the Serumsporidia, Keilin (1921) noted similari ties to a group of parasites infecting Crustacea, but considered the descriptions of these species to be incomplete, making it impossible to judge the relationshi p between the Serumsporidia and Helicosporidium Keilin (1921) saw no similarities between Helicosporidium and the Mycetozoa (slime

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6 molds). Unlike Helicosporidium the Mycetozoa have plasmodi um and flagellate stages and Helicosporidium has more complicated spores than the Mycetozoa. In Keilins final evaluation of Helicosporidium he stated that this pathogen was a new type of Protist that could be temporarily include d in the Sporozoa. Later, Helicosporidium was provisionally placed in its own order (Helicosporidia ) within the Cnidiosporidia (Kudo 1931). In the 1970s, there was a resu rgence of interest in Helic osporidia as new isolates were discovered in Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and mosquitoes. Based on observations of Keilins original materials and an infected Hepialid caterpillar from Argentina, Weiser (1968, 1970) suggested that Helicosporidium be moved from the Protozoa to the primitive Ascomycetes of the family Saccharomycetaceae and subfamily Nematosporidiae. He argued that the st ructure of the vegetative stages of Helicosporidium did not resemble any of the protozoa but he noted that the conservation of cell shape after separation of the daughter cells in Helicospo ridium was similar that of to plants. Weiser (1970) cont ended that the filament of Helicosporidium was homologous to the needle-shaped ascospores of Monosporella unicuspidata also described by Keilin (1920) in Dasyhelea obscura Weiser (1970) also noted that Helicosporidium like a typical fungal pathogen, caused lysis of hos t tissues. In the Hepialid he examined, however, the infection was limited to a cuticu lar wound, and it did not appear to spread throughout the host as in Keilins Dasyhelea larvae. Instead, tumor-like cysts with a fibrous, multilayered lining enclosed the heli cosporidial cells. No cells were found free in the hemolymph, and many of the tumor-like cysts contained melanized cells. Weiser hypothesized that the caterpillar was opportunistically infected through a wound, while Dasyhelea larvae, bathed in tree wound fluid contai ning Helicosporidia, could be infected

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7 along the entire body, resulting in systemic inf ection. The trans-cuticular infection route was also similar to that of most entomopathogenic fungi. Soon, the first bioassays with Helicosporidium were carried out (Kellen and Linde gren 1974), and the first electron micrographs of Helicosporidium were produced (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976). These studies showed that Helicosporidium could be readily transmitted per os and that, unlike the majority of Ascomycetes, the vegetative stages of Helicosporidium underwent mitotic division in the nucleus and c ontained well-defined Golgi bo dies. These characteristics aligned Helicosporidium more closely with the Prot ozoa. After these studies, Helicosporidium remained incertae sedis for more than 25 years. Identification of Helicosporidium as an Insect Pathogenic Alga The diagnostic feature of Helicosporidium is the cyst stage (Figure 2-1 A, B). The cyst is round to discoid, w ith the appearance of a ridge d biscuit (Boucias et al 2001) measuring 4-5 m in width. Cyst measurements differ considerably from one isolate to the next (Table A-1) and may be indicativ e of species differences. Avery and Undeen (1987b) found that the average size of th e cyst of a pond water isolate changed significantly after passag e through a heterologous hos t, ranging from from 5.58 0.03 m to 5.20 0.07 m after the first passage. The change in cyst size presumably indicated adaptation to a new host. The cyst is composed of four cells in a multilaminate pellicle. The pellicle is thic ker in the lateral re gion, peripheral to the filamentous cell (75-93 nm), than it is in the dorsal/ventral regions opposite the ovoid cells (50-53 nm) (Blske-Lietze et al. in pr ess). Three ovoid cells are stacked together along the central axis of th e cell. These ovoid cells, or iginally referred to as sporozoites, each possess a peripheral nucleu s enclosing a granular cytoplasm (Boucias et al. 2001). The filamentous cell is wound around the ovoid cells, making 3 to 4 turns.

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8 Upon physical or chemical stimulation, the cy st pellicle ruptures in the thinner, dorsal/ventral region, releasing the filamentous cell and ovoid cells. The free filamentous cell is highly resistant, either retaining a spiral conformation or straightening into a needle-like shape tapered at both ends (Figur e 2-1 C). The length of the filamentous cell varies with the isolate, measuring 37 65 m in length by 1 m in diameter (Table A-2). Filamentous cells are covered in short projectio ns or barbs (340 60 nm), oriented in one direction. Vegetative cells (2-4 m) are non-motile and also have a resistant pellicle with a textured outer surface (Figure 2-1 D, E). During autosporulation, the daughter cells are formed within the pellicle of the mother cell. Each pellicle contains 1, 2, 4, or 8 daughter cells (Boucias et al. 2001). The vegetati ve cells are uninucleate with elongate mitochondria and well-developed Golgi bodies (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976; BlskeLietze et al. in press). Once the daughter cell s are released, the shell-like empty pellicle persists (Figure 2-1 F, G) and is diagnostic of active vegetative repl ication (Boucias et al. 2001). Helicosporidium shares some morphological character istics with algae. Vegetative replication by autosporulation is prevalen t in green microalgae of the Chlorophyta, including the achlo rophyllous genus Prototheca (Bold and Wynne 1978). The Prototheca were initially described as new organisms with homology to both yeast-like fungi and green algae (Krger 1894). Nadakavukaren and McCracken (1973) demonstrated the presence of double-membraned starch storage gr anules (diagnostic of a plastid structure) in Prototheca zopfii Krger. While a plastid struct ure has not been localized in Helicosporidium the presence of a degenerate plasti d is supported by molecular analysis (Tartar and Boucias 2004; de Koning and K eeling 2004. Ultrastructura l studies show that

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9 both Helicosporidium and Prototheca contain well-developed Golgi bodies and elongate, peripheral mitochondria (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976; Nadakavukaren and McCracken 1973). Significantly, Helicosporidium produces a specialized, diagnostic cyst stage, which is not seen among the Prototheca Another important difference between the two parasites is that Prototheca only infect vertebrate hosts, while Helicosporidium is restricted to invertebrates. There is extensive molecular ev idence for the classification of Helicosporidium as a green alga and the relationship between Prototheca and Helicosporidium Five genomic sequences have been amplified and sequenced: 18S, 28S, ITS1-5.8S-ITS2, actin and tubulin. All trees constructed with these sequences placed Helicosporidium with the green algae of the class Trebouxiophyceae (Tar tar et al. 2002; Tartar 2004). An EST library has also been constructed, revealing a high number of unique sequences with no homology to any known sequences. Using this EST library, 98% of ribosomal protein sequences supported the green algal origin of Helicosporidium (de Koning et al. 2005). The mitochondrial cox3 gene has also been sequenced in Helicosporidium again demonstrating homology to green algae (Tarta r 2004). For example, a Blast N search of the Helicosporidium cox3 open reading frame gave E values of 5e-25 for Prototheca wickerhamii Tubaki & Soneda and 4e-13 for Nephroselmis olivacea Stein. The 16S ribosomal DNA sequence has been obtained from a remnant plastid in Helicosporidium with significant homology to that of the Pr otothecan plastid. The plastid genome of Helicosporidium has been further characterized by am plification of a series of highly conserved genes known as the str-cluster. Th e arrangement of genes in this cluster indicates that Helicosporidium is closely-related to P. wickerhamii but is more derived

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10 than its close relative, having a re-organize d, highly reduced genome (Tartar et al. 2004). Finally, the complete plastid genome of Helicosporidium has been sequenced by de Koning and Keeling (in press), confirming th e highly reduced structure of the genome. The plastid genome of Helicosporidium is highly structured, only 37.5 kb, with very little non-coding DNA, no inverted repeats, enco ding only the minimal number of tRNAs necessary. There is also evidence that the plastid genome of Helicosporidium is functional. Several cDNA sequences for plastid-targeted genes have been identified in the EST library, suggesting that the pl astid has retained functions for fatty acid metabolism, tetrapyrrole, isoprenoid, and amino acid biosynth esis. The plastid also appears to have a high reducing potential due to the presence of ferredoxin (de Koni ng and Keeling 2004). Many of these roles are shar ed by the apicoplast of Plasmodium but the metabolic diversity of the Helicosporidium plastid exceeds that of Plasmodium The evolution of the functional plastid of Helicosporidium may be the result of necessity, as the cyst must subsist in the environment before it is inge sted by a host, or the plastids metabolic diversity may be a relic of a more recent au totrophic ancestor (de Koning and Keeling 2004). Recently, Borza et al. (2005) characterized the plas tid-targeted proteins in P. wickerhamii revealing an even greater metabolic diversity than Helicosporidium including carbohydrate metabolism and purine biosynthesis. This finding supports the hypothesis that plastid reducti on is continuous along a parasitism gradient from the opportunistic parasites such as P. wickerhamii to the obligate parasites like Plasmodium spp. Helicosporidium appears to lie between these two extremes, as an obligate parasite

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11 with a free infectious stage with the possi bility of a facultative cycle under certain conditions (Boucias et al. 2001) a nd a moderately reduced plastid. Although molecular analyses indicate a relationship between Helicosporidium and algae, the exact relationship between Helicosporidium Prototheca and other nonphotosynthetic algae remains unclear. Recen t phylogenetic analyses of the genus Prototheca place Helicosporidium with P. wickerhamii and Auxenochlorella protothecoides (Krger), basal to other Prototheca species ( Prototheca moriformis Krger, Prototheca stagnora (Cooke), Prototheca ulmea Pore, P. zopfii ) (Ueno et al. 2005). Pathology Infection Cycle The Helicosporidia are unique in their bi ology. There is no known organism with a similar cyst stage composed of one long filamentous cell coiled around three ovoid cells within a pellicle. When this cyst is ingest ed, it dehisces, releasi ng the filamentous cell. Dehiscence is probably a result of a combin ation of protease activity, and pH. Many of the known host insects of Helicosporidium are herbivores with very basic gut pH levels (pH 9-12), and lepidopteran gut extracts induce dehiscence (Boucias et al. 2001). However, proteases alone do not induce dehi scence in vitro, except with pre-treatment with the membrane permeability enhancer dime thyl sulfoxide (Blske-Lietze et al. in press). Mechanical pressure also induces dehiscence (Boucias et al. 2001). High gut pH may be involved in dehiscence. Since dehis cence is necessary to achieve infection, the cysts ability to dehisce is a direct indication of viability. After dehiscence, the filament and the thre e ovoid cells or sporoplasms are released into the host gut. Initially, the sporoplasms were thought to be infective, while the

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12 filamentous cell was a unique means of opening the cyst pellicle (Keilin 1921). It is now apparent that the filament itself is the inf ective cell that passes the midgut epithelium to initiate infection. In fact, the sporoplasms deteriorate in the gu t (Boucias et al. 2001; Blske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Hypotheticall y, the passage of the midgut epithelium is aided by anchoring barbs that have been obs erved on the surface of the filamentous cell under SEM (Boucias et al. 2001). However, or ientation of the ba rbs in the gut of lepidopteran larvae appears to indicate otherwise. Barbs are observed pointing toward the gut lumen on the lumen side (Figure 2-2 A), but point away from the gut once through the basal membrane (Figure 2-2 B inset) (Blske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Convergent evolution has produced similar ingress mechan isms in fungi and microsporidia. The polar filament of microsporidia is ad apted to inject the parasites cytoplasm into a susceptible midgut cell (Bigliardi and Sacchi 2001). Oomycete Haptoglossa erumpens likewise makes use of a specialized gun cell to inj ect the cell protoplasm into cells of its nematode host (Glockling and Beakes 2002). In addition to these intr acellular parasites, extracellular parasite s are also known to have needlelike penetration mechanisms. For example, the pathogenic yeast Metschinikowia bicuspidata var. australis closely related to Monosporella unicuspidata described by Keilin (1920), ha s a club-shaped ascus which liberates its two needle-shaped ascospores upon digestion with snail gut juice or mechanical pressure, penetrating the host gut wall (Lachance et al. 1976). Once across the midgut, the filamentous cell divides and releases the first vegetative cells. This stage of infection is transitory, but the filamentous cell has been observed emerging from the basal side of th e midgut 4-24 hours post-exposure (Figure 22 B). While these filaments appear to pass through the midgut completely, filamentous

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13 cells are not observed to be freely circulating in the hemo lymph. Instead, early vegetative stages appear in the hemolymph and hemo cytes 48 hours post-exposure (Blske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). The filamentous cell pellicle can be observed inside hemocytes with early vegetative stages (Figure 2-3). Thus, the host hemocytes appear to be the site of initial replication. The process of filament to vegetative cell transformation has also been observed by in vitro studies (Bl ske-Lietze et al. in press). In vitro, within 24 hours, the cytoplasm and nucleus of the filament migrate to one end, causing a swelling and shortening of the filament. Nuclear divisi on followed by cytoplasmic division produces 4 daughter cells within the pellicle of the filament. At 48 hours, the filamentous cell is observed to rupture along the hor izontal axis of the pellicle releasing the four elongate cells (Figure 2-2 C), which then divide into eight oval to spherical vegetative cells. These vegetative cells undergo autosporulation, colonizing the hemocoel of the host. During autosporulation, nuclear division followed by cytokinesis, and formation of daughter cell pellicles all take place within the mother cell pellicle. Helicosporidium produces two, four, or eight daughter cells per mother cell. Secretion of new pellicles and the shedding of the mother pellicle can occu r at two, four, and eight -cell stages, but also appears to occur often in single-celled vegetative stages though the si gnificance of shedding the pellicle at th is stage is unknown (Blske-Li etze et al. in press). Autosporulation has been observed to occu r both intracellularly and in the hemocoel. Autosporulation continues for many cycles. In vitro cultures experience a lag phase of 1.5 days and a log growth phase between 1.5 a nd 6 days, reaching the stationary phase at 7 days with a density of 1.27 105 cells/ L. The doubling time of in vitro cultures during

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14 the exponential phase is eight hours. Likewise, in vivo, the doubling time in the hemolymph is seven hours (Blsk e-Lietze et al. in press). Several days after infection, cysts begin to form in the host. The timing of cyst formation may be related to the development of the host, as cyst formation has been observed to occur more slowly in long-lived hosts (Conklin et al. 2005). The stimulus to produce cysts in the host is unknown. Cyst formation does not occur in vitro, but injection of in vitro produced vegetative cells consistently results in cyst formation. High cell densities and media depletion do not appe ar to be important in cyst differentiation. The death of the host insect also does not a ppear to affect cyst differentiation. It is thought that the cyst is derive d from the 4-cell vegetative stages which are produced at a genetically determined rate, since the proportion of cysts produced from in vitro cultures when injected into a host corresponds to the pr oportion of 4-cell vegetative stages present in the culture (Blske-Lietze et al. in pre ss). Rather than forming cysts, adherent, multicellular clusters of cells known as pamelloid colonies form during long-term in vitro culture (Figure 2-4). These colonies reflect an inability of the cells to separate during autosporulation, and have been observed in other green algae (Blske-Lietze et al. in press). Once formed, presumably the cysts are released into the environment to infect the next generation of hosts. The method of cyst dispersal is still unknown. Cysts appear to be retained in the insect after death (Blske-Li etze et al. in press). Vertical transmission is possible in lepidopteran hosts at a low frequency (Blske and Boucias 2004). However, vertical transmission appears to be incident al, as Helicosporidia have not been observed invading ovaries (Blske and Boucias 2004) Fukuda et al. (1976) found no vertical transmission in Culex salinarius Coquillett.

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15 Host Response The host response to Helicosporidium infection is variable. Gross signs of infection such as slow moveme nt and severely retarded grow th have been observed in a few hosts (Keilin 1921; Hembree 1979; Conk lin et al. 2005). The primary sign of infection is milky white hemolymph (Boucia s et al. 2001; Sayre and Clark 1979; Conklin et al. 2005). In lepidopteran hosts, infected larvae often molt into deformed pupae or adults (Blske and Boucias 2004). Delayed development appears to occur in some hosts (Hembree 1981; Blske and Boucias 2004; Conklin et al. 2005). He mbree (1981) reporte d that infected Ae. aegypti larvae pupated 1-2 days later than uninfect ed larvae and that pupation was lengthened. Quantitative data on this observed delay in development was lacking, however. Blske and Boucias (2004) found that developmental delay varied among susceptible noctuid species. Pupal weight was reduced in infected H. zea but not in Tricoplusia ni (Hbner) or Spodoptera exigua (Hbner). Pupation was delayed in H. zea and S. exigua but not in T. ni Eclosion was delayed in S. exigua but not in H. zea or T. ni However, a high proportion of infected adults and pupae of all species were malformed and adult longevity of infected individuals was reduced for all species (Bl ske and Boucias 2004). Conklin et al. (2005) reported reduction in larval weight gain in infected Diaprepes abbreviatus (L.). Helicosporidium for the most part, appears to be able to effectively evade internal host defenses. The filamentous cell is apparen tly attacked and phagoc ytosed during initial infection events, but resists lysis within th e phagosome, producing daughter cells that are eventually released from the hemocytes (Bl ske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Boucias et al. (2001) found that circulating hemocytes did not attack vege tative cells. Unlike

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16 entomopathogenic fungi that reduce the numbe r of circulating hemocytes or impede phagocytosis, the hemocytes appear to be normal in both appearance and number in Helicosporidia-infected hosts (B lske-Lietze et al. in press; Boucias et al. 2001). While the majority of Helicosporidium -host interactions have show n the remarkable stealth of Helicosporidium there are four reports in the lit erature of encapsu lation, nodulation, or melanization in response to infection. Weiser (1970) de scribed the formation of multicellular sheaths surrounding Helicosporidium that appeared to originate from a cuticular wound. The cuticle had formed a callus over the wound, enclosing some vegetative stages and cysts. Around the wound, the masses of helicosporidial cells were encapsulated by layers of cells originating in the hypodermis with no hemocytes evident. Helicosporidial cells were melanized in most areas. In addition to the cells encapsulated near the cuticular wound, helicosporidial cell s were found encapsulated by lymphocytes in other areas of the host. Likewi se, Boucias et al. (2001) found that Galleria mellonella injected with purified cysts phagocytosed the cysts formed hemocytic granulomas, melanized hemocytes attached to various ti ssues. Within these granulomas, vegetative cells continued to multiply, and invaded host tissues, but no freely-circulating vegetative cells were observed. Fukuda et al. (1976) found that a Helicosporidium isolate from a beetle produced localized infections in mos quito larvae along with melanization, but a mosquito isolate tested in the same st udy produced systemic infections with no melanization. A pond-water isolate produced a similar response in mosquito larvae (Avery and Undeen 1987b, Kim and Avery 1986). It is apparent that the origin of the isolate may have an affect on whether or not the host will exhibit an immune response to vegetative replication.

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17 Typically, infection by Helicosporidium does not cause acute mortality in insect hosts. Most infected insect s live until pupation or even adulthood (Fukuda et al. 1976; Hembree 1981; Blske and Boucias 2004; Bl ske-Lietze and Boucias 2005; BlskeLietze et al. in press). The precise cause of death is unknow n, though death at the larvalpupal or pupal-adult interface may indicate a di sruption in molting behavior or endocrine system. At the time of death, the host hemoco el is full of helicosporidial cells. In Helicoverpa zea 9.7 106 cells are present in each micr oliter of hemolymph at 10 days post-exposure. Such a large number of invasi ve cells may restrict hemolymph flow and deplete nutrients. Early mortality has been reported in mos quito larvae. Fukuda et al. (1976) report that first instar Cx. salinarius exposed to high dosages for a long period of time rarely survived to the fourth instar, but did not mention the precise time at which this mortality occurred. Avery and Undeen (1987b) report that the majority of mortality to mosquito larvae occurred within 72 hours post-exposure, and attributed this re sponse to septicemia. Host Records and Ecology Members of the genus Helicosporidium have been discovered worldwide, parasitizing a wide range of invertebrate taxa. Helicosporidium parasiticum the only described species in the genus was discovered in larvae of a ceratopogonid living in tree wounds in Cambridge, England. There are 49 reports of natural Helicosporidium infections in invertebrates, spanning 37 described species and five continents (Table 2-1). Natural infections have occurred in mites, cladocerans, Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Oligochaeta, and pa rasitic trematodes. Most natura l infections are associated with hosts that inhabit moist environments such as tree wounds (Keilin 1921; Yaman and Radek 2005), water (Avery and Undeen 1987a; Bl ske and Boucias 2004; Boucias et al.

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18 2001; Chapman 1967, 1974; Fukuda et al. 1976 ; Hembree 1979; Pekkarinen 1993; Sayre and Clark 1978; Seif and Rifaat 2001), rott en fruit (Lindegren and Okumura 1973), and forest soils (Purrini 1979, 1980, 1981). Unlike the Prototheca which are often isolated as free vegetative cells in sewage, soil, and tr ee wounds, vegetative cells of Helicosporidia have never been isolated outside of a host. In laboratory assays, various Helicosporidium isolates have been transmitted to 75 known species of mites, Coleopt era, Diptera, and Lepidoptera. (Table 2-2) Only one assay has been performed on a vertebrate system. Helicosporidium was intubated into the stomachs of 12 golden hamsters. Thirty days later the hamsters were examined and found free of infection (Hembree 1981). Significantly, Helicosporidium does not grow in vitro at 35C, and cysts have reduced infectivity wh en stored at 37C for more than a few hours (Boucias et al 2001; Hembree 1981). Helicosporidium and Mosquitoes Mosquitoes are one of the best-studied hosts of Helicosporidium The discovery of Helicosporidium in a single larva of Culex territans Walker (Chapman 1967) first opened the question of the biologi cal control potential of Helicosporidium While Helicosporidium has been transmitted to 27 species in 8 genera of Culicidae in the lab, natural infections have only been found in 5 species of mosquito: 4 Culex spp. and Ae. aegypti These isolates have originated fr om Lousiana, Thailand, and Egypt. Two other nematoceran host records exis t. The first described host of Helicosporidium was a ceratopogonid (Keilin 1921), and Helicosporidium has also been isolated from S. jonesi in Florida.

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19 Of the 27 species of mosquito infected in the laboratory, 25 of these species were infected by mosquito isolates, 7 by hetero logous isolates, and 5 by both mosquito and heterologous isolates. Mosquito isolates have been transmitted to 6 species of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. Anopheles spp. have been reported to be highly susceptible to both a mosquito isolate (Fukuda et al. 1976) and a heterologous isolate (Avery and Undeen 1987b). However, Culex spp. are also very susceptible to mosquito isolates (Fukuda et al. 1976; Hembree 1981; Se if and Rifaat 2001). Predatory Toxorhynchites splendens (Wiedemann) larvae are susceptible to Helicosporidium infection if fed infected larvae (Hembree 1981). Bioassay systems have varied considerab ly from isolate to isolate, making comparisons between isolates difficult. Th e various bioassay methods for the major mosquito bioassays are summarized in Tabl e 2-3. Low dosages and long exposure times probably best imitate natural infection c onditions. Fukuda et al (1976) and Hembree (1981) do not specify at what time post-exposur e infection was assayed. Seif and Rifaat (2001) reported that the time of assay wa s 10 days after exposure, while Avery and Undeen (1987b) and Kim and Avery (1986) assaye d for infection at adult emergence. In most assays live vegetative stages or cysts indi cated infection, but the infection criteria of Avery and Undeen (1987b), included live and melanized helicosporidial cells. In all mosquito bioassays, Helicosporidium acted in a dosage-dependent manner. However, due to variations in bioassay methods, estimated IC50s varied greatly. For example, the estimated IC50 of Cx. salinarius was greater than 9.1 106 cysts/mL when measured by Fukuda et al. (1976), but was only 2.6 104 cysts/mL when measured by Avery and Undeen (1987b). Hembree (1981) and Seif and Rifaat (2001) had comparable

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20 exposure methods, resulting in similar IC50s for the two Aedes sp. they tested. The estimated IC50s for each bioassay are summarized in Table 2-4. In addition to the concentration of cysts in the exposure containe r, the time of exposure was directly related to infection rates. Longer e xposure led to higher levels of infection and mortality in all bioassays (Fukuda et al. 1976; Avery and Undeen 1987b; Seif and Rifaat 2001). The degree to which exposure time had an effect depended on the dosage tested and the age of the larvae. If 24-hour old larvae were expos ed for 24 hours, they would often molt into the next instar during the exposure time, in troducing another variab le of physiological age (Hembree 1981). Hembree (1981) exposed 24-hour old Ae. aegypti to 5 102 cysts/mL for a series of times from 1 hou r to 48 hours. At this dosage, there was a 3-fold increase in infection by increasing exposure time from 1 to 48 hours. Seif and Rifaat (2001), on the other hand, tested third instar Cx. pipiens at the same dosage, and showed a 10-fold increase in infection from 1 hour to 48 hours. Results at higher dosages (1 103 and 5 103 cysts/mL) were nearly identical for the two bioassays. Fukuda et al. (1976) reported a 9-fold decrea se in number of surviving la rvae from 1 hour to 8 hours, but the infection rate did not follow the same trend, remaining around 50% for exposure times of 1, 2, and 8 hours. Susceptibility decreased ra pidly with larval age. Hembree (1981) notes that physiological age (instar) rather than chronolog ical age is the most important factor for susceptibility. In his assays with Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 103 cysts/mL, percent infection dropped from 63% to zero from 24hour old larvae (first instar) to 48-hour old larvae (second instar). Likewise Fukuda et al. (1976) found a 3-fold reduction in infection rate in larvae 1 day to 3 days old. Seif and Rifaat (2001) re ported that the IC50 of fourth

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21 instar Cx. pipiens was 7-fold higher than the first in star larvae, and the second instar larvae just 1.2-fold higher than the first instar larvae. Biocontrol Potential In order for a biocontrol agent to be successf ully integrated into an IPM strategy, it must be safe, easy to obtain, inexpensive, a nd able to survive stor age and environmental extremes. Helicosporidium appears to be safe to ve rtebrates due to temperature limitations, though no systematic safety analysis has been performed on Helicosporidium The wide host range of Helicosporidium may be problematic, however, in systems where non-target invertebrates are a co ncern. Feasibility of biologica l control has been assessed by examining in vivo and in vitro production of cysts, storage, and the effects of environmental conditions on cyst viability. In Vivo Production Helicosporidium has been successfully mass-produced in vivo in Cx. salinarius (Fukuda et al. 1976), Ae. aegypti (Hembree 1981), and Cx. pipiens (Seif and Rifaat 2001) as well as S. exigua (Hembree 1981), Carpophilus mutilatus (Erichson), Paramyelois transitella (Walker) (Kellen and Lindegrean 1973), H. zea (Avery and Undeen 1987b; Boucias et al. 2001; Bls ke and Boucias 2004), and Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) (Seif and Rifaat 2001). Methods for in vi vo production have changed over time. Mosquito hosts were invariably infected by exposure to a cyst suspension of a known concentration. Hembree (1981) reports optim ization procedures to determine the appropriate dose, exposure time, and age of larvae to use to produ ce the highest number of cysts per insect. Lepidopteran hosts, on the other hand, were infected by several different methods. Kellen a nd Lindegren (1974) infected P. transitella larvae with diet containing 2.6 106 cysts/g, though the methods by whic h these cysts were obtained and

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22 integrated into the diet are not described. Hembree (1981) injected S. exigua larvae with gradient-purified cyst preparations. Av ery and Undeen (1987b) allowed starved H. zea larvae to feed for 24 hours on a droplet cont aining cysts. Seif and Rifaat (2001) fed S. littoralis on castor oil leaves treated with a droplet containing cysts. Purification protocols likewise vary. In fected mosquitoes were co llected and homogenized in deionized water. In some studies, this was th e extent of the cyst purification protocol (Fukuda et al. 1967; Hembree 1981). Seif and Rifaat (2001) added a centrifugation step into the purification protocol for Cx. pipiens Lepidopteran hosts, having much more tissue and cellular debris, were macerated a nd filtered, then cysts were purified on Ludox or Percoll gradient centrifugation using met hods similar to Undeen and Vavra (1998) for purification of microsporid ia (Avery and Undeen 1987b; Boucias et al. 2001). The number of cysts produced in different insect hosts is summarized in Table 2-6. Although cyst production in lepidopteran hosts ha s been reported to be 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than mosquito hosts, in fectivity of cysts may be reduced by amplification in a heterologous host. For ex ample, Hembree (1981) reported that cysts produced in S. exigua were less infectious to Ae. aegypti than cysts produced in Ae. aegypti Seif and Rifaat (2001) al so produced cysts in a lepi dopteran host but did not compare the infectivity of lepidopteran-produ ced cysts with mosquito-produced cysts. Interestingly, Avery and Undeen (1987b) reporte d significant changes in cyst size after as little as one passage through a heterologous host, indicati ng a rapid shift in phenotype based on host (Avery and Undeen 1987b). In Vitro Production Helicosporidium is capable of growth on many ki nds of media. Boucias et al. (2001) found that vegetative growth was po ssible on insect tissue culture medium,

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23 Candida liquid broth, Vogel-Bonner minimal broth, and SD broth. The only medium tested that did not support ve getative growth was Czapek D ox broth, which only supports growth of organisms capable of using inor ganic sources of nitrogen. Cysts placed in enriched growth media will dehisce, releasing filamentous cells which produce vegetative cells (Boucias et al. 2001). Vegetative replic ation continues for ma ny cycles in vitro, eventually resulting in pamelloid colonies (B lske-Lietze et al. in press). Cyst formation has never been observed in vitro. More re search is needed to understand the cues requisite for cyst formation. If the signals can be determined, in vitro production of cysts may be possible in the future. Storage and Stability Storage of Helicosporidium has been addressed several times over, but it is difficult to compare many of these experiments due to differences in methods or time of storage. High temperatures consistently deactivate Helicosporidium Hembree (1981) reported that Helicosporidium exposed to 42C for 24 hours ha s significantly lower infectivity, and exposure to 50C for even 15 minutes reduced transmission at the highest concentration to only 4%. However, cyst s withstood 24C and 32C for 24 hours with no loss of infectivity. At room temperature, stor age for 10 days reduced infectivity to only 28% at a dosage of 3 105 cysts/mL, and after 17 days of storage at room temperature, infectivity dropped to 6%. In vitro, vegetative stages do not replicate at 35C, and cells exposed to 35C for 4 days ar e killed (Boucias et al. 2001). Cold storage tolerance varies among Helicosporidium isolates. In general, purified cysts retain infectivity well when stored in deionized water at 4-5C, an average household refrigerator temp erature (Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Avery and Undeen 1987b). Hembree (1981) reported that, when stored at 4-5C, cysts began to lose

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24 infectivity around 6 weeks. Seif and Rifaat ( 2001), however, reported that storage at the same temperature preserved infectivity through 6 months. Avery and Undeen (1987b) reported that the LC50 of cysts stored for 3 months at 5C increased from 8.3 103 to 4.3 105 cysts/ml. At -15C, or household fr eezer temperature, Avery and Undeen (1987b) and Seif and Rifaat ( 2001) reported that infectivity was retained for 6 months. The data of Seif and Rifaat (2001) indicated that cysts fro zen at -15C began to show decline quicker than the cysts stored at 5C. He mbree (1981) also re ported that cysts frozen at -70C in cryoprotectant retained in fectivity after 6 mont hs of storage, and storage at this temperature w ithout cryoprotectant for 6 months destroyed infectivity. It is possible that cryoprotectants at ultra-low temperature may be a long-term storage solution. The effect of dessication on cyst viability is also variable Hembree (1981) found that lyophilized and vacuum-dried cysts complete ly lost infectivity af ter 4 weeks at room temperature. Avery and Undeen (1987b) air-dr ied cysts at 5C, and found that the LC50 of dried cysts stored for 5 days increased from 8.3 103 cysts/mL to 9.2 104 cysts/mL, indicating a 10-fold loss of inf ectivity. Seif and Rifaat (2001 ) found that air-dried spores held at room temperature had lost all infectivity when assa yed after 3 months of storage Hembree (1981) performed a series of e xperiments evaluating the effect of environmental conditions on Helicosporidium infectivity. One hour exposure to UV light destroyed cyst viability. E xposure to buffer solutions with pH ranging from 10.5 to 3.0 for 24 hours at 4C had no significant affect on viability. A 5% solution of household detergent for 24 hours at 4C had no effect on infectivity, but a 10% solution of detergent reduced infectivity by 20-43% Exposure to saline (NaCl) for 24 hours eliminated

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25 viability at 1.71 M (10% NaCl by weight). At 0.85 M (5%), infectivity was reduced by 8 to 52%. Table 2-1. Side-by-side comparison of the filamentous cell of Helicosporidium and the polar-capsule filament of Cnidosporidia (Microsporidia) modified from Keilin (1921). Later it would be shown that the filamentous cell does in fact unroll in the intestine of a host, demonstrating convergent evolution of these two pathogen ingress mechanisms. Spiral filament of Helicosporidium Polar-capsule filament of Cnidosporidia (1) Filament is not enclosed in a polar capsule but lies free beneath the wall of spore. (1) Filament is enclosed in a capsule of which it forms a part. (2) Filament always unrolls in the dead body of its host. (2) Filament does not unroll until spores reach intestine of a second host. (3) Filament unrolls slowly. (3) Filament is shot out. (4) Filament is pointed at both ends and is wide and ribbon-like in the middle. (4) Filament is pointed at only one end and very fine. (5) Axial portion of filament is very chromatic, nucleus is well formed in anterior third of filament. (5) No chromatic axial portion, degenerated nucleus upon wall of terminal capsule. (6) Filament is robust and very resistant in all media. (6) Filament fine and very fragile.

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26 Figure 2-1. Cell types and stru ctures of Helicosporidia. A) SEM image of the cyst. B) TEM image of the cyst. C) SEM imag e of a filamentous cell being released from a cyst: note barbs on surface. D) and E) SEM and TEM images of the vegetative cell. F) and G) SEM and TEM images of the vegetative pellicle. (Boucias et al. 2001; Blske-Lietze et al in press, used with permission)

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27 Figure 2-2. Initial infection events and devel opment of the filamentous cell. A) Shows the filamentous cell embedded in the midgut microvilli, B) the filamentous cells emerging from the basal lamina of th e midgut B inset: note orientation of barbs is away from gut lumen once thr ough the basal lamina, C) the in vitro development of the filamentous cell, producing 4 elongate daughter cells which divide into 8 spherical vegetati ve cells. (Boucias et al. 2001; BlskeLeitze and Boucias 2005; Blske-Leitze et al. in press, used with permission)

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28 Figure 2-3. Filament development in vivo w ithin a hemocyte. Arrows indicate early vegetative cells and remainder of filame ntous cell pellicle. (Blske-Leitze and Boucias 2005, used with permission) Figure 2-4. Pamelloid colony formed in vitro af ter several media transfers. (Blske-Lietze et al. in press, used with permission)

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29 Table 2-2. Natural hosts of Helicosporidium Group Species Locations References Coleoptera 13 USA, Mexico, Hawaii, Germany, Africa, Turkey Kellen and Lindegren 1973; Lindegren and Okmura 1973; Purrini 1980, 1985; Blske and Boucias 2004; Yaman and Radek 2005 Acarina 11 England, Germany Keilin 1921; Purrini 1981, 1984 Diptera 10 England, USA, Thailand, Germany, Egypt Keilin 1921; Chapman 1967, 1974; Hembree 1979; Fukuda et al. 1976; Purrini 1980; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Boucias et al. 2001 Collembola 3* Germany, USA Purrini 1984; Avery and Undeen 1987a Cladocera 1 USA Sayre and Clark 1978 Lepidoptera 1 Argentina Weiser 1970 Other (Oligochaeta, Trematoda) 2 Germany, Finland Purrini 1980; Pekkarinen 1993 *2 identified species Table 2-3. Laboratory-produced Helicosporidium infections Group Species References Acarina 3 Kellen and Lindegren 1973 Coleoptera 13 Kellen and Lindegr en 1973; Fukuda et al. 1976; Conklin et al. 2005 Diptera 26 Kellen and Lindegr en 1973; Sayre and Clark 1978; Hembree 1979, 1981; Fukuda et al. 1976, 1985; Kim and Avery 1986; Avery and Undeen 1987a,b; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Boucias et al. 2001 Lepidoptera 11 Kellen and Lindegr en 1973; Fukuda et al. 1976; Kim and Avery 1986; Avery and Undeen 1987a,b; Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Boucias et al. 2001; Blske and Boucias 2004 Table 2-4. Summary of bioassay methods for four major mosquito studies Authors Isolate source Exposure time (hours) Dose (cysts/mL) Volume (mL) Number of larvae Fukuda et al. 1976 Cx. nigripalpus, Cx. salinarius 1-8 2 105 to 1 107 5 5001000 Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti 24 5 102 to 5 104 20 100 Avery and Undeen 1987b Pond water 24 1 103 to 4 105 100 150 Seif and Rifaat 2001 Cx. pipiens 24 5 102 to 8 103 100 100

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30 Table 2-5. The IC50 of first instar larvae as recorded for various isolates and species. Authors Species IC50 (cysts/mL) Fukuda et al. 1976 An. quadrimaculatus ~ 1.7 105 Cx. salinarius > 9.1 106 Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti ~ 1 103 Avery and Undeen 1987b An. quadrimaculatus 4.4 102 Ae. aegypti 2.2 104 Cx. salinarius 2.6 104 Seif and Rifaat 2001 Cx. pipiens 1.9 102 Cx. atennatus 5 102 Cx. perexiguus 5 102 Cs. longiareolata 1.7 103 Ae. caspius 1.4 103 Table 2-6. Cyst production in different hosts Authors Species Production (cysts/individual) Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti 3.1 105 S. exigua 2.0 107 Seif and Rifaat 2001 Cx. pipiens 8.1 105 S. littolaris 6.2 108 Avery and Undeen 1987b H. zea 7.4 108

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31 CHAPTER 3 MATERIALS AND METHODS Preparation of Helicosporidium Cyst Amplification The SjHe isolate of Helicosporidium from the black fly, S. jonesi was collected in 2002 and 2003 by J. Becnel at USDA ARS in Gain esville, Florida (B oucias et al. 2001) SjHe was amplified in Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) and extracted on a continuous gradient of Ludox HS40 (Perkin Elmer Life Sciences Boston MA) following the protocol of Blske & Boucias (2004). Eggs of H. zea were purchased from USDA, ARS, Stoneville, MS. Neonates and larvae were provided w ith a wheat-germ-based, semi-synthetic diet containing antimicrobial agents and preser vatives (Shore and Hale 1965). Neonates were hatched in groups and transfe rred individually to 24-well plat es with diet after reaching the second or third instar. All larvae were maintained at constant conditions (27 1 C, 70 5% RH, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours) Fourth and fifth instar larvae of H. zea were injected with 5 L of cyst suspension at 2 5 cysts/insect. After injection, larvae were transferred to individual diet cups and incubated two weeks as above. Infected pupae and late-instar larvae we re homogenized in 200 mL of deionized water with a few crystals of 1-Phenyl 2-Thiourea. The ho mogenate was filtered twice through paper toweling then subjected to two cycl es of low-speed centrifugation (4,000 g 10 min). The resulting pellet was layered on top of a Ludox gradient formed with a gradient maker from 5% to 60% Ludox in deionized wate r. After high-speed centrifugation (16,000 g ) for one hour, the cyst-containing band was coll ected and subjected to several cycles of

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32 low-speed centrifugation (4,000 g 10 min) to remove residual gradient material. All cyst preparations were stor ed in deionized water at 4 C until use. The number of cysts in each preparation was determined with a hem acytometer using the average of two counts. In Vitro Dehiscence Lepidopteran gut extracts were collected from H. zea following the protocol of Boucias et al. (2001). Midguts of fourth or fifth instar H. zea were dissected out and homogenized gently, then centrifuged at 16,000 g for 15 minutes. The supernatant was removed, passed through a MC centrifugal filter unit (0.45 m, Millipore Corp., Bedford, MA) and frozen at -20 C in 100 L aliquots. Rate of dehiscence was evaluated before assays by thawing an aliquot of gut extract and adding 1 6 cysts to the gut extract and gently mixing. After incubation at room temperature for 30 minutes, the cysts and filaments were washed in deionized wate r 2 times using a microcentrifuge at 2,000 g for 10 minutes. The pellet was resuspended in 100 L of deionized wate r and the percent dehiscence was quantified w ith a hemacytometer. Host Range Bioassays assessed the activity of Sj He against two mosquito species, An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti Mosquitoes were obtained from colonies maintained at the USDA ARS in Gainesville, FL. Anopheles quadrimaculatus were obtained as first instars, while Ae. aegypti eggs were obtained from the colony and hatched in 10 mL deionized water with 1 mg of hatch media (finely ground alfalfa and potbelly pig chow mixture (2:1)) under a vacuum. First instar mosquitoes were transferred using a Pasteur pipette and counted into an enamel pan. Larvae were collected on a fine-mesh cloth was and inverted into the bioassay container. For each bioassay,

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33 100 first-instars were placed in a petri dish with 98 mL of deionized water amended with a 1 mL dose of SjHe (treatment) or deionize d water (control) and a 1-mL volume of 2% alfalfa and potbelly pig chow mixture (2 :1) as a nutritional source (final food concentration 0.2 mg/mL). Larvae were in cubated at constant conditions (26 1 C, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours) for 24 hours then transferred to enamel pans, and water was added to a volume to 500 mL. Food was provided ad libitum After 7 days, the surviving individuals were counted in each pan and a sub-sample of 12 examined randomly for infection unde r phase-contrast optics. I ndividuals containing live helicosporidial cells (vegetative or cyst stage) were considered infected. For each species, three replicates were performed at 1 5 cysts/mL. Each replicate was accompanied by an untreated control. Age Susceptibility All further assays were carried out with Ae. aegypti due to the low control mortality and synchronous developmen t of this species. Large groups of Ae. aegypti were hatched and transferred in groups of 500 neonate larvae to enamel pans with 500 mL of water. To obtain second, thir d, and fourth instars, larvae were reared at constant conditions (26 1 C, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours) and checked daily for development. Food was provided ad libitum Immediately after molting into the appropriate stage, the larvae we re transferred to large petri dishes in groups of 100 as above. The four larval instar s were treated at the follo wing dosages. First instars: 1 3 to 1 5 cysts/mL, second instars: 1 4 to 5 5 cysts/mL, third instars: 1 4 to 1 6 cysts/mL, and fourth instars: 1 4 to 1 6 cysts/mL. An untreated control group was included for each larval instar in each replicate. Larvae were assayed as above

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34 at 7 days post-exposure. If larvae were he ld long enough for adults to emerge, larvae were transferred to specially constructed mo squito breeders (see Appendix B) rather than enamel pans, allowing for collection of adu lts. Adults were provided with cotton balls soaked in 10% sucrose solution. When pres ent, surviving pupae and adults were examined for infection at 7 days post-expos ure in addition to surviving larvae. The percent infection of survivi ng pupae and adults was included in the percent infection. The effect of age of Ae. aegypti within the first instar was also examined at 1 4 and 5 4 cysts/mL. Within two hours of the beginning of hatching, Ae. aegypti larvae were counted into groups of 500 as above, placed in 500 mL of deionized water with food, and incubated for 12-24 hours. Firs t instar larvae two hours old were assayed at the same time as 12 hour old and 24 hour old first instar larvae. In each assay, 100 larvae were exposed to Helicosporidia for 24 hours with 0.2 mg/mL of food as above. An untreated control group was included for each larval age and replicate. After 7 days, surviving larvae were counted and a random sample of 12 examined for infection. Additional experiments were conducted to examine the possibility of latent infections that become detectable only in pupae or adults. Groups of 100 larvae were exposed as first instars to dosages from 5 102 to 1 104 cysts/mL as above. These were maintained up to 3 weeks post-exposure, fed ad libitum at constant conditions (26 1 C, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours). The number of larvae, pupae, and adults were counted every 2 days. Individuals were assayed for infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure using a random subsample of larvae, pupae, and adults.

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35 Food Concentration Bioassays The effect of food concentration during exposure to Helicosporidia was examined in first instar Ae. aegypti First instar larvae were counted into groups of 25 and exposed to 1 3, 1 4 or 1 5 cysts/mL with 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.4 mg/mL of food for 24 hours at constant conditions as above After 24 hours of exposure to food and Helicosporidia, the larvae were transferred to enamel pans, maintained for 7 days and assayed for infection as above. Mortality was recorded daily. To further examine the effects of food c oncentration on ingestion of Helicosporidia, cysts were fixed in 2.5% glut araldehyde for at least 5 hour s, rinsed and labeled with Fluorescein isothiocyanate (F ITC) in sodium bicarbonate buffer (pH 9.5) overnight. The resulting fixed, labeled cysts were rinsed 3 tim es in deionized water in a microcentrifuge at 2,000 g for 10 minutes. Cysts were counted with a hemacytometer and added to 100 mL of deionized water with 25 first-instar Ae. aegypti at a dosage of 1 5 cysts/mL. Three different food concentr ations (0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mg/mL) were tested. After 1, 2, or 4 hours of exposure at 26 C, all 25 larvae were removed and rinsed three times in deionized water. The larvae were homogenized in 0.05% SDS by sonication for 15 seconds, then the labeled cysts in the homogenate were quantified with a hemacytometer. The concentration of cysts in the suspension was used to calculate the average number of cysts ingested per insect. Host Development To examine the effect of infection on de velopment time, groups of 100 first instar Ae. aegypti larvae were exposed 1 4 cysts/mL of SjHe for 24 hours as above. Larvae were rinsed and each transferred into a well of a 24-well plate using a Pasteur pipette. Each well contained 3 mL of water and 0.02 mg/mL of food. Larvae were held at 26 C

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36 and evaluated every day for molting, pupation, or death. Food was provided ad libitum until pupation. Two plates of control and tw o plates of exposed larvae were used. Individuals were assayed for inf ection after adult emergence. Statistical Analyses Where control mortality was not necessary to statistical analyses, mortality of each assay was corrected with the control gr oup mortality using Abbotts formula (Abbott 1921). Statistical analyses were done with the SAS System for Windows (SAS Institute 1999). Percent infection and percent mortality data were subjected to logistic regression using proc genmod. Ingestion of cysts, sex ratios, dehiscence data and time to pupation were subjected to analysis of variance by th e procedure for general linear models (glm) in balanced designs and the procedure for mi xed linear models (mixed) in unbalanced designs (Neter et al. 1990; Rao 1998; Younger 1998). The means were separated by the least square means statement (ls means).

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37 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Cyst Amplification and Dehiscence In vitro dehiscence of cyst s of SjHe amplified from H. zea was highly variable. Dehiscence rates collected from five selected cyst preparations amplified from January to April 2005 varied from 34 to 70% immediately after purification. Percent cyst dehiscence also changed during several weeks of storage at 4 C (Figure 4-1), rapi dly declining 1-2 weeks after purification. After this initial de cline, dehiscence rates remained at a low, constant baseline below 10%. In bioassays with Ae. aegypti infection and mortality increased with increasing percen t dehiscence (Figure 4-2). Two of the 5 cyst preparations subjected to bioassays had dehi scence rates above 20% (2/9/ 05 and 3/9/05), and produced an average of 32 15% mortality, and an av erage percent infecti on of 53 20%. Other cyst preparations having dehiscence rates below 10% below 10%, and produced an average percent mortality of 17 24% produced average percent infection of 20 11%. Host Range Both Ae. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus were susceptible to infection with SjHe (Table 4-1). Overall, susceptibility to infection and mortality was higher for An. quadrimaculatus Early mortality, represented by 1day percent mortality, was higher for An. quadrimaculatus in SjHe-treated groups ( df = 1, P < 0.0001, 2 = 173.2), but control mortality at 1 day post-expos ure was also significantly higher for An. quadrimaculatus ( df = 1, P = <0.0001, 2 = 37.1). A similar trend held for 7-day mortality (Table 4-2).

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38 At 7 days post-exposure, the hemolymph of infected mosquito larvae was filled with vegetative stages and cysts. Melanized helicosporidial cells were also observed in the head and thorax region of infected mosquitoes. Infection of surviving An. quadrimaculatus at 7 days post-expos ure was higher than Ae. aegypti ( df = 1, P <0.0001, 2 = 65.9). All measurements of mortalit y and infection were dose-dependent. Melanization, however, was statistically i ndependent of dosage in both species ( df = 1, P = 0.6872, 2 = 0.16). Melanization was also independent of infection ( df = 1, P = 0.4596, 2 = 0.55). However, percent melanizati on in surviving individuals 7 days post-exposure was significantly higher in Ae. aegypti than An. quadrimaculatus ( df = 1, P <0.001, 2 = 49.27). Age Susceptibility There was a pronounced decrease in suscepti bility with increas ing larval age of Ae. aegypti (Table 4-3, 4-4). Statistical analysis by probit to obtain LD50 values for each age could not be carried out due to lack of consistent mortalit y or infection above 50% at 7 days post-exposure. However, at 7 days post-exposure to 1 105 cysts/mL, first instar larvae had significantly higher mortality and infection rates than second ( df = 1, P <0.0001, 2 = 204.88) or third ( df = 1, P < 0.0001, 2 = 254.15) instar larvae. Overall, third and fourth instar larvae were the l east susceptible to infection or mortality. Age within the first instar also ha d an effect on susceptibility of Ae. aegypti When exposed at 2 hours post-hatch, Ae. aegypti exhibited higher early mortality (represented by 3-day percent mortality) and 7-day mortal ity than 12-hour old larvae or 24-hour old larvae (Table 4-6, 4-7). Susceptibility to inf ection was also reduced in 24-hour old larvae when compared to 2-hour old larvae ( df = 1, P < 0.0001, 2 = 17.4). Aedes aegypti larvae exposed to 5 103 cysts/mL 24 hours after hatching were resistant to infection.

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39 The percent infection of surviving Ae. aegypti larvae at 7 days post-exposure did not differ significantly from the percent infectio n in larvae, pupae, or adults sampled at 2 or 3 weeks post-exposure (Table 4-8, 4-9). Infection rates were low for live pupae and adults sampled at 3 weeks post-exposure. Of 141 total adults examined, 7 were found infected. Of the 25 total pupae examined, only one was found infected. Mortality was high in the first 3 days post-exposure, and again increased after the second week postexposure (Figure 4-3). Dead, infected larv ae and pupae were rec overed 7-14 days postexposure. The onset of pupation and adult em ergence occurred at the same time for control and SjHe-treated groups (Figure 4-4 and 4-5). Howeve r, groups treated with SjHe had a higher proportion of a dults at 3 weeks post-exposure when compared with untreated controls, due to the death of la rvae and pupae in SjHe-treated groups. There were more than twice as many adult males as females in control groups at 3 weeks postexposure. Sex ratios in groups treated with Sj He were slightly weighted toward females, but not significantly ( df = 4, P = 0.4711, F = 0.99) (Table 4-10). Food Concentration Bioassays Increased food availability during exposur e to SjHe decreased mortality and infection in Ae. aegypti larvae. Total mortality increased 1-3 days post-exposure, leveling off after 3 days post-exposure such that, in most food and dose combinations, 3-day mortality accounted for 50-90% of total mortal ity at 7 days post-exposure (Table 4-11). At two days post-exposure, mortality was si gnificantly affected by both dosage and food level ( df = 6, P = 0.0025, F = 4.63) (Figure 4-6). The relationship between food and mortality at 7 days post-exposur e was significant at the 1 103 dosage ( df = 3, P = 0.0145, F = 3.98) (Table 4-12). The effect of food level on infection at seven days was only statistically analyzed for the 1 103 dosage due to high mortality (~100%) in

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40 the other treatments. At 1 103 cysts/mL dosage, increased food levels decreased infection ( df = 3, P = 0.0278, F = 5.19) (Table 4-13). The number of fixed, FITC-labeled cysts ingested by first instar Ae. aegypti decreased with increasi ng food availability ( df = 2, P = 0.0061, F = 6.31) (Table 4-14). The number of cysts ingested per insect was not significantly different for 1, 2, or 4 hours post-exposure ( df = 2, P = 0.5719, F = 0.57). However, ingestion rates were highly variable. Host Development Infection with SjHe had no effect on time to pupation for individually-reared Ae. aegypti Of the 48 exposed larvae transferred in to individual wells, 33 survived to pupation. The infection rate in these pupae was 63%. Time to pupation was not significantly delayed in infect ed individuals when compared with uninfected individuals ( df = 4, P = 0.9010, F = 0.26). Average time to pupation in infected larvae was 9.4 1.7 days, while the average time to pupati on for control larvae was 8.6 1.5 days.

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41 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 0123456 Storage Time (Weeks)Dehiscence (%) 1/4/2005 2/9/2005 3/9/2005 3/30/2005 4/20/2005 Figure 4-1. Percent dehiscence of five cyst preparations purified January through April 2005. After purification, cyst prep arations were stored at 4 C. Cyst preparations were assayed for dehi scence immediately after purification (0 weeks) and each week after purif ication. Cysts were treated with lepidopteran gut extracts, incubated at room temperature for 30 minutes, then the percent of filamentous cells released was counted with a hemacytometer to obtain percent dehiscence. Data provided by V. Lietze.

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42 y = 0.7356x + 12.615 R2 = 0.2001 y = 1.3357x + 14.108 R2 = 0.59 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 05101520253035 Dehiscence (%)Mortality or Infection (%) 1/4/05 Mortality 1/4/05 Infection 2/9/05 Mortality 2/9/05 Infection 3/9/05 Mortality 3/9/05 Infection 3/30/05 Mortality 3/30/05 Infection 4/20/05 Mortality 4/20/05 Infection Linear (Mortality trendline) Linear (Infection trendline) Figure 4-2. Regression of percent corrected mo rtality and infection on percent dehiscence of cyst preparation at time of exposure. Each point represents a single bioassay with one of the five isolates purified from Jaunuary to April 2005. Groups of 100 first instar Ae. aegypti were exposed for 24 hours to 1 104 cysts/mL. Percent mortality was obt ained at 7 days post exposure, using Abbotts correction fo r control mortality. Percen t infection was obtained by examining a subsample of survivi ng larvae at 7 days post-exposure. Table 4-1. Average SD results of assays with An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to 1 104 cysts/mL. Infection and melanization were measured in a subsample of surviving larvae 7 days after exposure. Species Dose (cysts/mL) Day 1 Percent Mortality Day 7 Percent Mortality Percent Infection Percent Melanization An. quadrimaculatus Control 15 30 (5) a 38 28 (7) 0 0 (3, 36) b 0 0 (3, 36) 1 103 34 25 (4) 78 10 (4) 69 43 (4, 43) 18 27 (4, 43) 1 104 34 33 (6) 72 13 (5) 84 20 (10, 111) 8 14 (10, 111) Ae. aegypti Control 1 2 (5) 5 4 (6) 0 0 (3, 36) 0 0 (3, 36) 1 103 1 1 (3) 11 3 (3) 11 13 (3, 36) 44 13 (3, 36) 1 104 10 6 (6) 57 19 (8) 33 30 (6, 72) 57 14 (6, 72) a Number of replicates, e ach consisting of 100 larvae. b Total number of individuals examined across all replicates appears in parentheses after number of replicates.

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43 Table 4-2. Logistic regression of host range bioassay data (proc genmod). Response Variable df 2 P Day 1 Mortality Dose (1 103 vs 1 104) 1 6.1 0.0136 Species (Control) 1 37.1 <0.0001 Species (SjHe) 1 173.2 <0.0001 Day 7 Mortality Dose (1 103 vs 1 104) 1 60.5 <0.0001 Species (Control) 1 148.5 <0.0001 Species (SjHe) 1 214.7 <0.0001 Percent Infection Dose 1 14.3 0.0002 Species 1 65.9 <0.0001 Percent Melanization Dose 1 0.16 0.6872 Species 1 49.27 <0.0001 Infection 1 0.55 0.4596 Table 4-3. Average SD corrected percent mortality at 7 days post-exposure for four instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidium 7-Day Mortality Dosage (cysts/mL) Instar 1 103 1 104 1 105 1 106 1 7 (1) a 23 23 (4) 83 24 (3) nt 2 1 (1) 5 4 (3) 19 22 (3) nt 3 2 (1) 3 (1) 4 5 (4) 12 (1) 4 ntb nt 0 (1) 0 (3) a Number of replicates appear in parenthe ses. Each replicate consisted of 100 larvae. Abbotts correction for control mortality was used. b Not tested Table 4-4. Average SD corrected percent in fection of surviving larvae at 7 days postexposure for different instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidia. Percent Infection Dose (cysts/mL) Instar 1 103 1 104 1 105 1 106 1 25 (1, 12) a 42 30 (4, 48) 75 25 (3, 17) nt 2 0 (1, 12) 6 10 (3, 36) 6 5 (3, 36) nt 3 0 (1,12) 0 (1, 12) 2 4 (4, 48) 25 (1, 12) 4 nt b nt 8 (1, 12) 14 17 (3, 36) a The number of replicates appears in parenthe ses, followed by the total number of larvae examined across all replicates. Each replicate consisted of 100 larvae. b Not tested

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44 Table 4-5. Logistic regression of age su sceptibility by instar (proc genmod). Response Variable df 2 P Day 7 Mortality Instar (1 vs 2) 1 204.88 <0.0001 Instar (1 vs 3) 1 254.15 <0.0001 Instar (2 vs 3) 1 36.41 <0.0001 Percent Infection Instar (1 vs 2) 1 9.45 0.0021 Instar (1 vs 3) 1 21.18 <0.0001 Instar (2 vs 3) 1 9.60 0.0019 Table 4-6. Mean SD percent mortality and infection in 2, 12, and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti after exposure to SjHe and at 5 103 and 1 104 cysts/mL. Dose (cysts/mL) Age (hours posthatch) Na Day 3 Percent mortalityc Day 7 Percent mortalityc Percent Infectionb 5 103 2 3 35 26 49 34 40 13 (36) 12 4 9 14 22 37 10 21 (48) 24 3 2 3 2 3 0 0 (36) 1 104 2 3 63 9 80 15 25 22 (26) 12 4 29 33 39 43 29 34 (39) 24 3 28 43 27 45 19 34 (36) a Number of replicates, consisting of 100 larvae each. b Total number of larvae examined across a ll replicates appears in parentheses. c Abbotts correction for control mortality was used. Table 4-7. Logistic regression of Ae. aegypti bioassay data for age and dose. Response Variable df 2 P Day 3 Mortality Dose 1 87.7 <0.0001 Age (2h vs 12h) 1 29.2 <0.0001 Age (2h vs 24h) 1 140.0 <0.0001 Age (12h vs 24h) 1 39.1 <0.0001 Day 7 Mortality Dose 1 61.1 <0.0001 Age (2h vs 12h) 1 17.6 <0.0001 Age (2h vs 24h) 1 247.6 <0.0001 Age (12h vs 24h) 1 131.8 <0.0001 Percent Infection Dose 1 2.24 0.1346 Age (2h vs 12h) 1 2.8 0.0930 Age (2h vs 24h) 1 17.4 <0.0001 Age (12h vs 24h) 1 6.06 0.0138

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45 Table 4-8. Mean SD infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure of Ae. aegypti exposed as first instars to four dosages of SjHe. Mean Percent Infection Dose (cysts/mL) Week PostExposure Larvae Pupae Adults 5 102 1 4 6 (24)a npb np 2 0 (12) np 0 (12) 3 11 16 (21) 17 24 (6) 0 (12) 1 103 1 14 13 (36) np np 2 0 (9) 0 (3) 0 (12) 3 12 7 (37) 0 (11) 0 0 (33) 5 103 1 46 41 (24) np np 2 27 (12) 0 (1) 0 (12) 3 58 59 (13) 0 0 (4) 4 6 (24) 1 104 1 58 30 (36) np np 2 33 (9) 0 (3) 0 (9) 3 np np 33 42 (27) a Three replicates were conduced at 1 and 3 w eeks, one replicate at 2 weeks, total number of individuals examined across all re plicates appears in parentheses. b Not present. Table 4-9. Logistic regression of percent in fection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure. Variable df 2 P Week (1 vs 2) 1 0.00 0.9998 Week (1 vs 3) 1 1.31 0.2519 Week (2 vs 3) 1 0.00 0.9998

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46 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 013579111315171921 Time Post-Exposure (days)Mortality (%) Control 1000 10000 Figure 4-3. Percent mortality over time of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to two dosages of SjHe. Two replicates were conducted. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 791113151719 Time Post-Exposure (Days)Surviving Individuals Adults Pupae Larvae Figure 4-4. Average control proportion of la rvae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti 1-3 weeks post-exposure.

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47 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 791113151719 Time Post-Exposure (Days)Surviving Individuals Adults Pupae Larvae Figure 4-5. Average proportion of larv ae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti at 13 weeks post exposure to 1 104 cysts/mL of SjHe. Table 4-10. Mean SD adult male:female ratio of Ae. aegypti at 3 weeks post-exposure to 2 dosages of SjHe. Dosage (cysts/mL) Mean M:F Ratioa 0 2.1 0.9a 1 103 2.3 1.5a 1 104 0.8 0.2a a Means followed by different letters were significantly different (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05)

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48 Table 4-11. Corrected percent mortality over time of Ae. aegypti at three dosages of SjHe and four food levels Percent Mortality Days post exposure Dosage (cysts/mL) Food 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 103 0.05 4 0.2 a 22 6 35 25 43 18 51 27 53 30 54 36 0.1 3 3 12 17 14 20 14 22 22 31 26 37 30 30 0.2 3 2 3 2 3 5 6 5 11 10 9 9 21 22 0.4 2 3 2 3 6 9 6 9 6 9 6 9 6 9 1 104 0.05 12 5 96 6 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 0.1 22 6 81 10 87 5 92 0 93 2 96 4 98 2 0.2 7 6 53 9 67 11 84 3 84 3 92 7 95 6 0.4 10 14 23 3 40 9 54 24 57 32 62 30 72 23 1 105 0.05 37 27 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 0.1 35 21 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 0.2 20 1 96 6 98 3 100 0 100 0 100 0 100 0 0.4 16 6 92 0 94 3 94 3 95 5 95 6 97 5 a Three replicates were performed, Abbotts correction for control mortality was used

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49 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 0.050.10.20.4 Food (mg/ml)Mortality (%) 1.00E+03 1.00E+04 1.00E+05ab d d ab dd a c d a b d Figure 4-6. Percent mortality at 2 da ys post-exposure of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to three dosages of Helicosporidia and four food levels. Three replicates were performed. Means followed by different le tters were statistically different (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05). Abbotts correction for control mortality was used. Table 4-12. Mean ( SD) corrected percent mortality in Aedes aegypti 7 days after exposure to SjHe at four different food levels and three dosages of helicosporidia. 7-day Percent Mortality Food (mg/mL) Dosage (cysts/mL) 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.4 1 103 43 36a a b 27 25ab 22 19ab 3 6b 1 104 93 14a 91 16a 77 39a 54 40a 1 105 100 0a 100 0a 99 2a 86 23a a Three replicates were performed, consisti ng of 25 larvae each, Abbotts correction for control mortality was used. b Means followed by different letters are statistically different within each dose (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05).

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50 Table 4-13. Mean ( SD) inf ection rates in surviving Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to three dosages of SjHe at four differe nt food levels. Three replicates were performed. The total number of individuals examined across all replicates appears in parentheses. Means followed by different letters were statistically different (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05). Percent Infection Food (mg/mL) Dosage (cysts/mL) 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.4 1 103 72 25a (24) a b 52 25ab (34) 34 8bc (41) 14 10c (36) 1 104 100 0 (2) 83 24 (5) 67 37 (18) 1 105 100 (1) 0 (2) a Three replicates were performed, consisti ng of 25 larvae each, Abbotts correction for control mortality was used. b Means followed by different letters are statistically different within each dose (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05). Table 4-14. Mean ( SD) fixed, FI TC-labeled cysts ingested per Ae. aegypti larva exposed to 1 105 cysts/mL at three food leve ls. Means followed by different letters were statistically di fferent (proc glm, lsmeans; P < 0.05). Food (mg/mL) Cysts per insect 0.1 4.2 4.4 103a 0.2 3.1 3.0 103ab 0.4 2.0 2.0 103b

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51 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Highly variable bioassay data se em to be the norm with many Helicosporidium isolates. Fukuda et al. (1976) found that infection rates of An. quadrimaculatus exposed to a mosquito isolate varied between 17 and 93% among four repl icates. Blske and Boucias (2004) found that oral challenge of three noctuid species with an isolate of Helicosporidium from an aquatic weevil produced either no infection or only 50% infection. However, injection of the noctuids with Helicosporidium consistently resulted in 100% infection. Initial infect ion events thus may be the source of the variability in bioassay data. In our study, cyst viability has al so been implicated to play a role in the variable bioassay results produced w ith different cyst preparations. Previous studies examining cyst viability have used a standardized mosquito bioassay. Hembree (1981), for example, expos ed groups of 100 firs t instar 24-hour old Ae. aegypti to a range of dosages of Helicosporidium after storage or treatment with various environmental factors, measuring infe ction rate as the response variable. Avery and Undeen (1987b), on the other hand, used groups of 150 first instar An. quadrimaculatus exposed to a range of dosages of Helicosporidium for 24 hours, measuring 72-hour mortality as the response vari able. In vitro methods for assessing cyst viability have not been tested before. Since dehiscence is necessary to initiate infection and directly related to viability, dehiscence rate is a logical choice for assessing cyst viability. Variation in dehiscen ce rate of SjHe between cyst preparations and decline of dehiscence rates during storage may account for the high variability in the bioassay data.

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52 However, the relationship between dehiscence and mortality and inf ection was not very strong, indicating that in vitro dehiscence may not be the best indicator of cyst viability. Also, there may be factors other than cyst vi ability influencing variation in the bioassay data. Helicosporidium has a wide host range. Natural infections have occurred in mites, cladocerans, Coleoptera, Collembola, Dipter a, Lepidoptera, Oligoc haeta, and parasitic trematodes. Helicosporidium is not highly host-specific. For example, Kellen and Lindegren (1973) transmitted a Helicosporidium isolate obtained from Carpophilus mutilatus Erichson to 9 other species of Coleoptera, 6 species of Lepidoptera, 3 species of mites, and 1 species of Diptera. There are only five mosquito host records for Helicosporidium but Helicosporidium from mosquitoes has been transmitted to 25 other species of mosquitoes, three species of Cole optera, and three species of Lepidoptera. Previous SjHe host range results indicated that Ae. aegypti was a less suitable host than An. quadrimaculatus (Conklin et al. 2005). For exampl e, in previous studies, SjHe infection rates were belo w 20% for first instar Ae. aegypti treated with 1 105 cysts/mL. In our study, the infectio n rate of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 105 cysts/mL was 75 25%. Also, in previous studi es, mortality of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 105 cysts/mL SjHe was less than 10%. In our study, mortality of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 105 cysts/mL was 83 24%. In ad dition, Conklin et al. (2005) reported that the SjHe isolate did not cause melanization in mosquito hosts, whereas the isolate from an aquatic weevil (CsHe) did cause melanization. In our study, melanization was more prevalent in Ae. aegypti than An. quadrimaculatus possibly indicating that Ae. aegypti are still less suitable hosts for Helicosporidium than An. quadrimaculatus It is

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53 difficult to say what might have caused thes e differences. Isolated from a blackfly in 2003, SjHe has been continuously amplified in lepidopteran hosts. The Helicosporidial cells used by Conklin et al. (2005) had been amplified in lepidopt erans for less than a year, but the Helicosporidial cells used in our study had been in culture in H. zea for 1-2 years. Continued selection by amplificati on in a heterologous host may have caused a phenotypic change in the isol ate over time. Avery and Und een (1987b) described changes in cyst diameter of a pondwater isolate after one passage through a lepidopteran host. Hembree (1981), likewise, amplified a mosquito isolate in S. exigua and reported a loss of infectivity after one passage through this heterologous hos t. Rather than exhibiting a decrease in infectivity, the SjHe isolate a ppears to have increased infectivity toward Ae. aegypti There is also a possibility that the SjHe isolate was contaminated with the weevil isolate (CsHe) used by Conklin et al. (2005). Age-dependent resistance to pathogens is common in insects as well as many other organisms. There are several possible reasons fo r decreased susceptibility due to age. Age may alter ingestion or feeding as the larvae become satiated and cease feeding or begin molting into the next instar. In this study, 24-hour-old first in star larvae molted into the second instar during the expos ure period, possibly resulting in reduced ingestion. Older larvae also have had time to establish a co mpliment of immune peptides and phagocytic hemocytes that may kill invasive microorgani sms. In mosquito larvae, the peritrophic matrix may also be a key to pathogen re sistance. Mosquito larvae have a highly structured peritrophic matrix secreted by a ring of cells in the cardia and extending through the entire midgut. Th e peritrophic matrix is al ready present in neonate Ae. aegypti but it is thinner, withou t the strengthening fibers pr esent in the peritrophic

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54 matrix of later instars. Thickening of the peri trophic matrix occurs as the larvae age and feed (Richards and Richards 1971). Decreasing susceptibility with age ha s been reported for three other Helicosporidium isolates. Fukuda et al (1976) reported a 3-fold reduction in infection rate from larvae 1 to 3 days old. Hembree (1981) found that both instar and age during the first instar had an effect on infectivity and mortality. In Hemb rees (1981) study, there was a 3-fold difference in IC50 between first and second instars of Ae. aegypti Seif and Rifaat (2001) repor ted that the IC50 of second instar Cx. pipiens was only 1.2 times more than the first instars. In our study, there was an 8 to 13-fold difference in infection rate between the first and second instars of Ae. aegypti The results for the effect of age within the first instar in this stu dy were similar to those of He mbree (1981), who found a 2-fold difference in infection rate of 2 and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti at 5 102 cysts/mL. However, the decrease in susceptibility between 2 and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti in our study was more pronounced, decreasing from 40 to 0% from 2 to 24-hours of age at a dosage of 5 103 cysts/mL. Increasing the dosage of Sj He minimized the effect of first instar age on susceptibility, indicating that the decrease in susceptibility due to age was not complete. Infection with Helicosporidium reaches its peak just after 7 days post-exposure. Fukuda et al. (1976) reported th at infection could be detected at 4 days post-exposure and that the maximum number of infected mosqu itoes was collected 9-10 days post-exposure. Hembree (1981) found that virt ually all infections could be detected 4 days after infection, and that 10-14 da y-old larvae were optimum for cyst purification. Seif and Rifaat (2001) reported 5 days post-exposure for the first dete ctable infections, and that

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55 the maximum number of infected larvae was collected 8-10 days post-exposure. All of the above authors noted that mortality occurr ed in the late fourth instar, pupae, and adults. The pathological effects of Helicosporidium infection manifest themselves at the larval-pupal interface in lepidopt eran hosts also. Blske and Boucias (2004) found that infected noctuids successfully pupated, but most died as pupae. A small number of infected larvae emerged as infected adults. In fected noctuiid adults and pupae were often malformed. In bioassays with SjHe, percent in fection did not change significantly after 1 week post-exposure, and most infected insects died late in the fourth instar, at the larval-pupal interface. No malf ormation of pupae or adults was observed in SjHe-treated Ae. aegypti. Sex-ratio in infected noctuiids was no t different from controls (Blske and Boucias 2004). Sex ratio of exposed Ae. aegypti also did not differ from controls. The minor female-bias in the sex ratio of Ae. aegypti exposed to SjHe is due to the high mortality in these groups. Infected larvae that successfu lly pupated and emerged as adults were rare in this study. Horizontal transmission ap pears to be the most likely form of transmission for Helicosporidium Blske and Boucias (2004) found that Helicosporidium infection could be vertically transmitted by infected noctuiid adults. However, the infection rate in the offspring was very low, and the ovarian tissu e itself was not found to be infected. The role of vertical transmission in mosqu itoes is unknown. The only study of vertical transmission in mosquitoes was by Fukuda et al. (1976), which examined 2060 larvae from 17 egg rafts of infected Cx. salinarius but found no infection. Natural horizontal transmission of Helicosporidium from infected individuals to uninfected individuals of the same species has not yet been documente d with any host species. However, Hembree

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56 (1981) infected Toxorhynchites splendens (Wied.) by feeding the predatory larvae Helicosporidium -infected Cx. pipiens Once cysts are produced in the host, they must be released into the environment in order to be ingested by the next host, but no mechanism of cyst release has been found (B lske-Lietze et al. in press). While death of infected larv ae during the fourth instar appears to be common for Helicosporidium infections, early mortality accounted for most of the total mortality at 7 days post exposure. High early mortality due to exposure to SjHe in this study and also observed by Conklin et al. (2005) has only been reported for one other isolate of Helicosporidium Avery and Undeen (1987b) found that a pond water isolate of Helicosporidium caused high mortality in first inst ar larvae at 72-hours post exposure. The pond water isolate also caused melanizatio n in mosquitoes. Since early mortality causes the death of the host before cyst pr oduction, terminating the infection cycle, the authors suggested that mosquitoes were not natural hosts of the pond water isolate. Increasing the food during exposure to SjHe decreased the amount of cysts ingested, as indicated with fixed, FITC-label ed cysts. However, decreased ingestion may not completely explain decreased infecti on. In addition to reduced ingestion, plant chemicals present in the mosquito diet may have damaged the ingested helicosporidial cells. Alfalfa, a component of the larv al food, produces isolfavonoid phytoalexins, defensive compounds that exhi bit antimicrobial activity in vitro (He and Dixon 2000). Differences in food composition may account for variation in bioassay results from previous studies. For example, Hembree ( 1981) used a high-protei n mixture of yeast, liver powder, and hog chow as larval food, wh ile Fukuda et al. (1976) used rabbit chow, and Seif and Rifaat (2001) us ed powdered tropical fish food.

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57 In our study, there was no effect of inf ection on development. However, there are other reports that Helicosporidium can influence development in other hosts. For example, Conklin et al. (2005) found that the mean head capsule measurements of Ae. aegypti exposed to SjHe and reared in groups were smaller than the control larvae. However, this approach failed to take in to account the effect of group size on host development. Individual rearing eliminates this larval density factor providing each larva with nearly ideal conditions fo r growth. It is possible that, in groups, larval density and competition between larvae for food increases th e cost of infection, thus increasing the effect of infection on development. In suppor t of this, Bedhomme et al. (1999) found that Ae. aegypti infected with a microsporidian develo ped more slowly when placed in groups than individually-reared larvae. Utilization of the time to pupation as a m easurement of development may not have been adequate. Blske and Boucias (2004) repor ted that the effect of infection on noctuid development varied by species and measuremen t of development. Pupal weight, time to pupation, and time to eclosion each provided a different profile of the effect of Helicosporidium infection on development. Also, anal ysis of time to pupation in SjHeinfected Ae. aegypti would have been improved by r ecording pupation more than once every 24 hours. With such a short larval period, the difference in development between infected and control mosquitoes may have been less than 1 day. However, Hembree (1981) reported that pupation was delayed 1-2 days in infected Ae. aegypti and pupation was lengthened. Different rearing conditions ma y have caused slower development in his infected larvae. The length of time to deve lopment (pupation or adul thood) can also have an effect on a pathogens ability to influence host development. The le ngth of the larval

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58 period of Ae. aegypti at 26 C is 7-10 days, while the lengt h of the larval period of the weevil D. abbreviatus is 100 days or more (Conklin et al. 2005), providing the pathogen a greater opportunity to infl uence the development of the host. Accordingly, there was a pronounced effect on host development in D. abbreviatus treated with SjHe. While Ae. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus support vegetative growth of SjHe, several aspects of the inte raction between SjHe and mo squitoes indicate that host suitability is low for these species. The IC50 for first-instar An. quadrimaculatus was between 1 104 and 1 105 cysts/mL (Conklin et al. 2005), and for Ae. aegypti the IC50 of first-instars was also in the range of 1 104 cysts/mL. The dose-response of two culicid isolates have been examined using similar methods, with much lower IC50s than this study. Hembree (1981) found that the IC50 of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to a mosquito isolate from Thailand was approximately 1 103 cysts/mL. Seif and Rifaat (2001) found that for first instar Cx. pipiens exposed to another mosquito isolate, the IC50 was 1.9 102 cysts/mL. High initial mortality of Ae. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus exposed to SjHe limited the number of infecte d, cyst-producing larvae recovered later. Cyst production after death also does not appear to occur in other hosts of Helicosporidium Blske-Lietze et al. (in press) have found that in H. zea vegetative reproduction halts after the hosts death, and furt her cyst differentiation does not occur in the dead host. This intera ction between a pathogen and the non-host species did not benefit either the host or th e pathogen. The host had an acu te reaction, causing death and shutting down pathogen reproduction, while th e pathogen, having prematurely killed its host, was unable to complete its life cycle.

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59 The host range of a single Helicosporidium isolate may be deceptively broad, where many species can be in fected, but only a few support a high level of replication and transmission, representing true host species. The sensitivity of th e bioassay system of SjHe and mosquitoes to cyst viability, minor changes in host age, and food availability also indicate a poorly adapte d host-pathogen interaction.

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60 APPENDIX A MEASUREMENT DATA Table A-1. Compiled cyst measurements. References Size ( m) Stain Fixation Host Keilin 1921 5 6 None None Dasyhelea obscura Weiser 1970 3 4.5 Ironhaematoxylin Carnoy's fluid, paraffin Hepialis pallens Weiser 1970 4.5 5 Ironhaematoxylin Schaudinn's fluid + 1% HAc Dasyhelea obscura Hembree 1979 5.5 Giemsa Methanol Cx. quinquefasciatus ; Ae. aegypti Hembree 1979 5.9 None None Cx. quinquefasciatus ; Ae. aegypti Kellen & Lindegren 1974 5.03 0.28 Giemsa Methanol Paramyelois transitella Kellen & Lindegren 1974 5.59 0.26 None None Paramyelois transitella Sayre & Clark 1978 5.6 0.052 Giemsa None Daphnia magna Pekkarinen 1993 5.31 0.04 None Gl utaraldehydeBucephalid trematode Pekkarinen 1993 4.99 0.04 Staine d None Bucephalid trematode Pekkarinen 1993 4.91 0.05 Staine d None Bucephalid trematode Pekkarinen 1993 4.92 0.06 Staine d None Bucephalid trematode Pekkarinen 1993 3.71 5.14 TEM TEM Bucephalid trematode Boucias et al. 2001 6.5 0.2 x 5.9 0.3 None None Simulium jonesi Boucias et al. 2001 6.2 0.3 x 5.9 0.1 None None Helicoverpa zea Avery & Undeen 1987a 7.19 0.15 Giemsa None Collembolan Avery & Undeen 1987a 5.58 0.03 None None Helicoverpa zea Avery & Undeen 1987b 8.91 0.12 None None Collembolan

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61 Table A-2. Compiled filamentous cell measurements Authors Size ( m) Stain Mount Host Keilin 1921 60 65 x 1 None None Dasyhelea obscura Kellen & Lindegren 1974 50.4 3.32 None Saline Paramyelois transitella Sayre & Clark 1978 61.7 2.44 Giemsa None Daphnia magna Boucias et al. 2001 37 4.3 x 0.9 0.13 None None Simulium jonesi

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62 APPENDIX B CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUITO BREEDERS When rearing mosquitoes to adulthood, it becomes necessary to find a way to have both water for the larvae and pupae and space for the adults to be collected after emergence. Placing the larval rearing pan into a large screen cage is one simple way to address this problem. However, screen cages are bulky and difficult to sterilize, and collecting adults from such a large space can be a chal lenge. Many mosquito breeder products that address this problem are availa ble through mail order, but these usually cost $10-15 each. A mosquito breeder has a relati vely simple design, however, and can be constructed from materials that most labor atories have on hand. In this series of experiments, mosquito breeders were c onstructed from 16 oz clear, plastic food containers with tight-fitting lids (DelPak by Reynolds Grant Park, IL). These containers are light, durable, dishwasher-safe, stackable, water-tight easy to cut with a razorblade, and recyclable. The following is a protocol for constructing mosquito breeders. Materials Three 16 oz plastic tubs Two lids for tubs One 5x5 in piece of green tulle Hot glue gun and glue sticks Razorblade Scissors Procedure 1. Using the razorblade, make an X in the middle of one of the lids. Pop this out and fold back the flaps. Cut one of the flaps o ff to facilitate movement of adults out of bottom chamber.

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63 2. Cut out the middle of the other lid, leav ing only the lip that attaches to the container. Do this by making a slit with th e razorblade, then finishing cutting with the scissors. 3. Heat up the hot glue gun and glue the two lids together top to top. Run a bead of glue all the way around the outside edges. 4. Cut the bottoms off of two of the plastic tubs using the razorblade. 5. Place one of the bottomless tubs upside down and place the tulle on top of the opening. 6. Press the other bottomless tub upside down on top of the other tub, securing the tulle between the two tubs. 7. Assemble the finished mosquito breede r by snapping the remaining tub and the tulle part into the two side s of the lid (Figure B-1). Each finished mosquito breeder can hol d about 500 mL of water in the bottom container. A cotton ball soaked in sugar solution can be placed on top of the tulle screen to provide food for the adults. Collecting ad ults from the containe r is accomplished by placing a lid with a hole punched in the middl e over the top of the screening. Introduce a tube through the hole and pump CO2 into the container for approximately 1 min, or until all mosquitoes are knocked down. The mosquitoes can be collected with forceps. Not all adult mosquitoes will fly up into the upper part of the breeder, so the lid will have to be removed to collect those that remain below. The approximate cost of each mosquito breeder constructed as above is 41 cents.

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64 Figure B-1. Finished mosquito breeder

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65 LIST OF REFERENCES Abbott, W. S. (1921). "A method for computi ng the effectiveness of an insecticide." Journal of Economic Entomology 18 : 256-267. Avery, S. W. and A. H. Undeen (1987). "T he isolation of micr osporidia and other pathogens from concentrated ditch water. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 3 (1): 54-58. Avery, S. W. and A. H. Undeen (1987). "S ome characteristics of a new isolate of Helicosporidium and its effect upon mosquito es." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 49 (3): 246-251. Bedhomme, S., P. Agnew, Y. Vital, C. Si dobre and Y. Michalakis (2005). "Prevalencedependent costs of parasite virulence." PLOS Biology 3 (8): e262. Bigliardi, E. and L. Sacchi (2001). "Cell biology and inva sion of the microsporidia." Microbes and Infection 3 : 373-379. Blske, V. U. and D. G. Boucias (2004). "Influence of Helicosporidium spp. (Chlorophyta: Trebouxiophyceae) infection on the development and survival of three noctuid species." Environmental Entomology 33 (1): 54-61. Blske-Lietze, V.-U. and D. G. Boucias (2005). "Pathogenesis of Helicosporidium sp. (Chlorophyta: Trebouxiophyceae) in suscep tible noctuid larvae." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 90 : 161-168. Blske-Lietze, V.-U., A. Shapiro, J. S. Denton, M. Botts, J. J. Becnel and D. G. Boucias (2006). "Development of the insect pathogenic alga Helicosporidium ." Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 53 (3). In press accepted January 2006 Bold, H. C. and M. J. Wynne (1978). Introduction to the Algae Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall. Borza, T., C. E. Popescu and R. W. L ee (2005). "Multiple Metabolic Roles for the Nonphotosynthetic Plastid of the Green Alga Prototheca wickerhamii ." Eukaryotic Cell 4 (2): 253-261. Boucias, D. G., J. J. Becnel, S. E. Wh ite and M. Bott (2001). "In Vivo and In Vitro Development of the Protist Helicosporidium sp." Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 48 (4): 460-470.

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66 Chapman, H. C. (1974). "Biological control of mosquito larvae. Annual Review of Entomology 19 : 33-59. Chapman, H. C., D. B. Woodard and J. J. Petersen (1967). "Pathogens and parasites in Louisiana Culicidae and Chaoboridae." Pro ceedings of the New Jersey Mosquito Extermination Association 54 : 54-60. Conklin, T., V.-U. Blske-Lietze, J. J. Becn el and D. G. Boucias (2005). "Infectivity of two isolates of Helicosporidium spp. (Chlorophyta: Trebouxiphyceae) in heterologous host insects. Florida Entomologist 88 (4): 431-439. de Koning, A. P. and P. J. Keeling (2004). "Nucleus-Encoded Genes for Plastid-Targeted Proteins in Helicosporidium: Functional Dive rsity of a Cryptic Pl astid in a Parasitic Alga." Eukaryotic Cell 3 (5): 1198-1205. de Koning, A. P. and P. J. Keeling (2006). "T he complete plastid genome sequence of the parasitic green alga Helicosporidium sp. is highly reduced and structured." BMC Evolutionary Biology In press, accepted March 2006 de Koning, A. P., A. Tartar, D. G. Boucias and P. J. Keeling (2005). "Expressed sequence tag (EST) survey of the highly adapted green algal parasite, Helicosporidium." Protist 156 (2): 181-190. El-Ani, A. S. (1967). "Life Cycle and Variation of Prototheca wickerhamii ." Science 156 (3781): 1501-1503. Fukuda, T. and H. C. Chapman (1985). "Helic osporidium (Protozoa)." Bulletin American Mosquito Control Association 6 : 59-61. Fukuda, T., J. E. Lindegren and H. C. Chapman (1976). Helicosporidium sp. a new parasite of mosquitoes." Mosquito News 36 (4): 514-517. Glockling, S. L. and G. W. Beakes (2002). "Ultrastructural mor phogenesis of dimorphic arcuate infection (gun) cells of Haptoglossa erumpens an obligate parasite of Bunonema nematodes." Fungal Genetics and Biology 37 : 250-262. Hamana, K., T. Aizaki, E. Arai, A. Sa ito, K. Uchikata and H. Ohnishi (2004). "Distribution of norspermidi ne as a cellular polyamine within micro green algae including non-photosynthetic achlorophyllous Polytoma, Polytomella, Prototheca and Helicosporidium." Journal of General and Applied Microbiology 50 (5): 289295. He, X. Z. and R. A. Dixon (2000). "G enetic manipulation of isoflavone 7-OMethyltransferase enhan ces biosynthesis of 4' -O-Methylated isoflavonoid phytoalexins and disease resistan ce in alfalfa." The Plant Cell 12 : 1689-1702. Hembree, S. C. (1979). "Preliminary repor t of some mosquitoes pathogens from Thailand." Mosquito News 39 (3): 575-582.

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67 Hembree, S. C. (1981). "Evaluation of the microbial control potential of a Helicosporidium sp. (Protozoa: Helicosporida) from Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus from Thailand." Mosquito News 41 (4): 770-783. Higashiyama, T. and Y. T. (1991). "Electr ophoretic karyotyping and chromosomal gene mapping of Chlorella ." Nucleic Acids Research 19 : 6191-6195. Keilin, D. (1920). "On a new Saccharomycete Monosporella unicuspidata gen. n. nom., n. sp. parasitic in the body cav ity of a Dipterous larva ( Dasyhelea obscura Winnertz)." Parasitology 12 : 83-91. Keilin, D. (1921). "On the life-hisotry of Helicosporidium parasiticum n. g., n. sp., a new type of protist para sitic in the larva of Dasyhelea obscura Winn. (Diptera, Ceratopogonidae) and some ot her arthropods." Parasitology 13 (2): 97-113. Kellen, W. R. and J. E. Lindegren (1973). "New host records for Helicosporidium parasiticum ." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 22 (2): 296-297. Kellen, W. R. and J. E. Lindegren (1974). "Lif e cycle of Helicosporidium parasiticum in the navel orangeworm, Paramyelois transite lla." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 23 (2): 202-208. Kim, S. S. and S. W. Avery (1986). "Effects of Helicosporidium sp. infection on larval mortality, adult longev ity, and fecundity of Culex salinarius Coq." Korean Journal of Entomology 16 (2): 153-156. Krger, W. (1894). "Kurz charactistic einge r niedern Organismen in Laftflusse de laublaume. I. Uber einen neuen Pilz -typus reprasentiert durch die Gattung Prototheca (Pr. moriformis et Pr. zopf ii). II Ueber zwei aus Laftflussesrein gezuchtet Algen." Hewigia 33 : 241-266. Kudo, R. R. (1931). Handbook of Protozology Springfield, IL, C. C. Thomas. Lachance, M.-A., M. Miranda, M. W. Miller and H. J. Phaff (1976). "Dehiscence and active spore release in pat hogenic strains of the yeast Metschnikowia bisucpidata var. australis : possible predatory implication." Canadian Journal of Microbiology 22 : 1756-1761. Lindegren, J. E. and G. T. Okmura (1973) "Pathogens from economically important nitidulid beetles." USDA ARS W-9 : 1-7. Lindegren, J. E. and D. F. Hoffmann (1976) "Ultrastructure of some developmental stages of Helicosporidium sp. in the navel orangeworm, Paramyelois transitella ." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 27 (1): 105-113. Nadakavukaren, M. J. and D. A. McCracken (1973). "Prototheca: An alga or a fungus?" Journal of Phycology 9 : 113-116.

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68 Pekkarinen, M. (1993). "Bucephalid trem atode sporocysts in brackish-water Mytilus edulis new host of a Helicosporidium sp. (Protozoa: Helicosporida)." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 61 (2): 214-216. Purrini, K. (1979). On the incidence and distri bution of parasites of soil fauna of mixed coniferous forests, mixed leaf forest s, and pure beech forests of Lower Saxony, West Germany Proceedings VII International Soil Zoology Colloquium of the International Society of Soil Science, Syracuse, NY, Washington, DC, USA: Office of Pesticide and Toxic Substances. Purrini, K. (1980). Malamoeba scolyti sp. n. (Amoebidae, Rhizopoda, Protozoa) parasitizing the bark beetles, Dryocoetes autographus Ratz., and Hylurgops palliatus Gyll. (Scolytidae, Coleopter a)." Archiv fur Protistenkunde 123 (3): 358366. Purrini, K. (1981). "Studies on Some Amoebae (Amoebida) and Helicosporidium parasiticum (Helicosporida) Infect ing Moss-Mites (Oribatei, Acarina), in Forest Soil Samples." Archiv fur Protistenkunde 124 : 303-311. Purrini, K. (1984). "Light and el ectron microscope studies on Helicosporidium sp. parasitizing oribatid mites (Oribatei, Acarina) and Collembola (Apterygota, Insecta) in forest soils." J ournal of Invertebrate Pathology 44 (1): 18-27. Purrini, K. (1985). "On disease agents of in sect pests of wild palms and forests in Tanzania." Zeitschrift fr angewandte Entomologie 99 (3): 237-240. Richards, A. G. and P. A. Richards (1971). "Origin and composition of the peritrophic membrane of the mosquito, Aedes aegypti ." Journal of Insect Physiology 17 : 22532257. Sayre, R. M. and T. B. Clark (1978). Daphnia magna (Cladocera: Chydoroidea), a new host of a Helicosporidium sp. (Protozoa: Helicosporida) ." Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 31 (2): 260-261. Seif, A. I. and M. M. Rifaat ( 2001). "Laboratory evaluation of a Helicosporidium sp. (Protozoa: Helicosporida) as an agent fo r the microbial control of mosquitoes." Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 31 (1): 21-35. Shorey, H. H. and R. C. Hale (1965). "Mass r earing of the larvae of nine noctuid species on a simple artificial medium." Journal of Economic Entomology 58 : 522-524. Tartar, A. (2004). Incertae sedis no more: The phylogenetic a ffinity of Helicosporidia. Entomology and Nematology PhD dissertation. Gainesvill e, University of Florida. 98. Tartar, A. and D. G. Boucias (2003). "Incer tae sedis no more: The phylogenetic affinity of Helicosporidia." Journal of Phycology 39 (S1): 55.

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69 Tartar, A. and D. G. Boucias (2004). "T he non-photosynthetic, pathogenic green alga Helicosporidium sp. has retained a modified, functional plastid genome." FEMS Microbiology Letters 233 (1): 153-157. Tartar, A., D. G. Boucias, B. J. Adams and J. J. Becnel (2002). "Phylogenetic analysis identifies the invertebrate pathogen Helicosporidium sp. as a green alga (Chlorophyta)." International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 52 (1): 273-279. Tartar, A., D. G. Boucias, J. J. Becnel a nd B. J. Adams (2003). "Comparison of plastid 16S rRNA (rrn16) genes from Helicosporidium spp.: evidence supporting the reclassification of Helicosporidia as gr een algae (Chlorophyta)." International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53 (6): 1719-1723. Ueno, R., N. Hanagata, N. Urano and M. Suzuki (2005). "Molecular Phylogeny and Phenotypic Variation in The He terotrphic Green Alagal Genus Prototheca (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta)." Journal of Phycology 41 : 1268-1280. Undeen, A. H. (1982). The production and use of Protozoa for vector control 3. Int. Colloq. on Invertebrate Pathology/15. Annu. Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, Br ighton (UK), 6-10 Sep 1982. Undeen, A. H. and N. E. Alger (1971). "A density gradient method for fractionating Microsporidian spores." Jour nal of Invertebrate Pathology 18 : 419-420. Undeen, A. H. and J. V vra (1998). Research Methods fo r Entomopathogenic Protozoa. Manual of Techniques in Insect Pathology L. Lacey. New York, Academic Press : 117-152. Weiser, J. (1964). "The taxonomic position of Helicosporidium parasiticum Keilin 1924." Journal of Protozoology 19 (3): 440-445. Weiser, J. (1970). Helicosporidium parasiticum Keilin infection in the caterpillar of a hepialid moth in Argentina." Journal of Protozoology 17 (3): 436-440. Williams, B. A. and P. J. Keeling (2003). "C ryptic organelles in parasitic protists and fungi." Advances in Parasitology 54 : 9-68. Yaman, M. and R. Radek (2005). Helicosporidium infection of the great European spruce bark beetle, Dendroctonus micans (Coleoptera: Scolytidae)." European Journal of Protistology 41 (203-207).

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70 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Tracy Conklin was born on April 17, 1982 in West Palm Beach, Florida. As an only child, she entertained herself by catching in sects, lizards, and fish in her subtropical backyard. She examined her first mosquito larva under her mothers microscope at 8 years old. Little did she know that she would spend 3 years of her life doing the same in college. After spending 2 years of her underg raduate career studying British literature, Tracy gave in to her love for insects a nd changed her major to entomology. As an undergraduate, she worked for Dr. Drion Bouc ias in the insect pa thology laboratory, and after graduating, decided to continue looking at mosquitoes under the microscope.


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EFFECTS OF HELICOSPORIDIA ON MOSQUITOES


By

TRACY M. CONKLIN

















A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Tracy M. Conklin















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank Dr. Drion Boucias for mentoring me through my undergraduate and

graduate education. I thank Dr. James Becnel for his expert advice and encouragement. I

also thank Dr. Verena-Ulrike Lietze; I would have been lost without her kind help. I

extend special thanks to Steven Arias, Allison McGee, Natalie VanHoose, Jessica

Noling, and Heather Furlong for their technical support. I am deeply indebted to Genie

White for her suggestions and statistical expertise. I also thank James Colee and Janice

Cole for their help with the statistics. I also thank my parents and my friends for their

prayers, love, listening ears, and wake-up calls.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

LIST OF TABLES ............. ..... ......................... .......... ............ vi

LIST OF FIGURES ............. .. ..... ...... ........ ....... .......................... viii

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... ...................... ix

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ................. ........... ................. ... .... 1

2 LITERA TURE REVIEW .......................................................... ..............5

H elicosporidium History .................................................. ............................. 5
Identification of Helicosporidium as an Insect Pathogenic Alga .................................7
P anthology ................................ ........................... ........... ............... 11
In fiction C y cle ................................................................. ......... 1 1
H ost R response .................................................. ....................... ........ 15
H ost Records and Ecology.......................................................... ............... 17
Helicosporidium and M osquitoes .................................................... ...... ......... 18
Biocontrol Potential .......................... ..... .................. .... ... ... 21
In V ivo Production ...................... ...... .......... ................. .... .. .....2 1
In V itro P reduction ......... ........................................................ .. .... ..... .. 22
Storage and Stability ........... ..................................................... .. .... .... .... 23

3 M ATERIALS AND M ETHOD S ........................................ ......................... 31

Preparation of Helicosporidium....................... ........ ........ 31
C yst A m plification ........................................ ................. .... .. ... 3 1
In V itro D ehiscence .......................................................................... ..... 32
H o st R a n g e .................................... ...................................................3 2
Age Susceptibility........................................................33
Food Concentration Bioassays ............................................................................35
H ost D evelopm ent ....................... .................. ..... .. .. ...............3 35
Statistical A n aly ses ................................................................... ...... .. .... ... 3 6










4 R E SU L T S ....................................................... 37

Cyst A m plification and D ehiscence ........................................ ....................... 37
H o st R ang e ............... ................................................................................... 37
Age Susceptibility.................. ......... .......................... 38
Food Concentration Bioassays ............................................................................39
Host Development ................................. ... ..... ........... ......... 40

5 D ISCU SSION ............. ................. ..................................................... ......51

APPENDIX

A M E A SU R E M E N T D A TA ....................................... .............................................60

B CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUITO BREEDERS ...............................................62

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ........................................................................ .....................65

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................70




































v
















LIST OF TABLES


Table pge

2-1 Side-by-side comparison of the filamentous cell of Helicosporidium and the
polar-capsule filament of Cnidosporidia (Microsporidia) .....................................25

2-2 N natural hosts of H elicosporidium ........................................ ........................ 29

2-3 Laboratory-produced Helicosporidium infections .........................................29

2-4 Summary of bioassay methods for four major mosquito studies.............................29

2-5 The IC50 of first instar larvae as recorded for various isolates and species..............30

2-6 Cyst production in different hosts ........................................ ........................ 30

4-1 Average SD results of assays with An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti 7
days after exposure to 1 x 104 cysts/m L.. ........................................ ............... 42

4-2 Logistic regression of host range bioassay data. ..................................................43

4-3 Average SD corrected percent mortality at 7 days post-exposure for four
instars ofAe. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidium .......................................43

4-4 Average SD corrected percent infection of surviving larvae at 7 days post-
exposure for different instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidia.......43

4-5 Logistic regression of age susceptibility by instar. .............................................44

4-6 Mean SD percent mortality and infection in 2, 12, and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti
after exposure to SjH e .................. ........................... ... ..... ... ........ .... 44

4-7 Logistic regression of Ae. aegypti bioassay data................................. ..............44

4-8 Mean SD infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure ofAe. aegypti exposed
as first instars to four dosages of SjHe. ........................................ ............... 45

4-9 Logistic regression of percent infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure..........45

4-10 Mean SD adult male:female ratio ofAe. aegypti at 3 weeks post-exposure to 2
d o sag es of SjH e .................................................... ................ 4 7









4-11 Corrected percent mortality over time ofAe. aegypti at three dosages of SjHe
an d fou r food lev els.......... ............................................................ .. .... .... .... .. 4 8

4-12 Mean ( SD) corrected percent mortality in Aedes aegypti 7 days after exposure
to SjHe at four different food levels and three dosages of helicosporidia ..............49

4-13 Mean ( SD) infection rates in surviving Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to
three dosages of SjHe at four different food levels ............................. ............... 50

4-14 Mean ( SD) fixed, FITC-labeled cysts ingested per Ae. aegypti larva exposed to
1 x 105 cysts/mL at three food levels.............. ........................ ...............50

A -1 C om piled cyst m easurem ents ........................................................................ ... 60

A-2 Compiled filamentous cell measurements...................... ...................... 61
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pge

2-1 Cell types and structures of Helicosporidia ........................ .................26

2-2 Initial infection events and development of the filamentous cell ...........................27

2-3 Filament development in vivo within a hemocyte. ...............................................28

2-4 Pamelloid colony formed in vitro after several media transfers. .............................28

4-1 Percent dehiscence of five cyst preparations purified January through April
2 0 0 5 ........................................................................... 4 1

4-2 Regression of percent corrected mortality and infection on percent dehiscence of
cyst preparation at tim e of exposure.. .............................................. ............... 42

4-3 Percent mortality over time of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to two dosages of
S jH e ........................................................................... 4 6

4-4 Average control proportion of larvae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti
1-3 w eeks post-exposure. ............................................... .............................. 46

4-5 Average proportion of larvae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti at 1-3
w weeks post exposure ............. ...... ....................... .... ...... ........ .... 47

4-6 Percent mortality at 2 days post-exposure of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to
three dosages of Helicosporidia and four food levels........................................49

B -l Finished m osquito breeder ............................................... ............................ 64















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

EFFECTS OF HELICOSPORIDIA ON MOSQUITOES

By

Tracy M. Conklin

May 2006

Chair: Drion G. Boucias
Major Department: Entomology and Nematology

The Helicosporidia are a poorly understood group of pathogens that have been

detected worldwide in diverse groups of invertebrates. Discovered in 1921, their

taxonomic position was debated until 2002, when it was determined that Helicosporidia

are algae. Related to the vertebrate pathogen Prototheca wickerhamii Tubaki & Soneda,

Helicosporidium represents the first described algal genus of invertebrate pathogens. The

Helicosporidia are unique in that they produce a characteristic cyst stage composed of

one elongate filamentous cell wrapped around three ovoid cells within a pellicle. On

ingestion by a host, the cyst dehisces, releasing the filamentous cell and ovoid cells from

the pellicle. The filamentous cell penetrates the midgut epithelium of the host and

differentiates into the vegetative cell phenotype. Vegetative stages develop in the

hemocoel via autosporulation, and eventually form cysts.

Recently, a new isolate of Helicosporidium was discovered in Florida that infects

the blackfly Simuliumjonesi Stone & Snoddy. Bioassays were conducted with this

blackfly isolate (SjHe) against Aedes aegypti L. and Anopheles quadrimaculatus (Say).









Both species were infected at 7 days post-exposure. However, exposure to SjHe caused

melanization and high early mortality in both species. There was also high variation in

infectivity and mortality in all bioassays. In vitro dehiscence rates varied from one cyst

preparation to the next, and may account for the high levels of variation. Aedes aegypti

was selected for further bioassays due to low control mortality and synchronous

development in this species. In Ae. aegypti, susceptibility decreased significantly after the

first instar and also within the first instar with age. Most infected individuals died as

fourth instar larvae; thus infected pupae and adults were rare. Infection did not

significantly increase in Ae. aegypti maintained up to 3 weeks post-exposure.

Susceptibility also decreased with increasing food availability during exposure. Food

acted as a diluent, reducing the number of cysts ingested. Time to pupation was not

significantly delayed in infected, individually reared Ae. aegypti. The presence of

melanization, high initial mortality, and the high dosages necessary to achieve infection

indicated a non-host interaction. This interaction was unexpected and contradicts the

widely-held assumption that the Helicosporidia are not host-specific.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Since the first description by Keilin (1921), invertebrate pathogens in the genus

Helicosporidium have been detected worldwide in diverse groups of invertebrates,

including several orders of insects, mites, crustaceans, oligochaete worms, and

trematodes (Sayre and Clark 1978; Purrini 1984; Avery and Undeen 1987b; Pekkarinen

1993). Until recently, their taxonomic position remained unclear. Keilin (1921)

tentatively described Helicosporidium parasiticum as a protozoan, but Weiser (1970)

proposed that the Helicosporidia were best placed among the lower fungi. Most recently,

Boucias et al. (2001) suggested that the vegetative development of Helicosporidia was

similar to the autosporogenic growth of unicellular algae. Significantly, genetic analysis

defined the genus Helicosporidium as a member of the green algal class

Trebouxiophyceae (Chlorophyta) and, as such, it represents a novel clade of invertebrate

pathogens (Boucias et al. 2001; Tartar et al. 2002, 2003; Tartar 2004; Tartar and Boucias

2004; de Koning and Keeling 2004). The trebouxiophyte green algae are generally

photosynthetic and free-living. However, the closest relatives to Helicosporidium (the

genus Prototheca) are achlorophyllous algae that have evolved a heterotrophic life style,

opportunistically infecting vertebrates.

The infectious cyst, the stage that defines the genus Helicosporidium, comprises

three ovoid cells and a coiled, elongate, filamentous cell enclosed in an outer pellicle.

The cyst dehisces when ingested by the insect host-the pellicle ruptures, releasing the

filamentous cell and the three ovoid cells. The invasive filamentous cells pass through the









midgut epithelial layer and gain ingress to the hemocoel. Within the hemocoel, the

filamentous cells differentiate into vegetative cells, which undergo autosporogenic cell

divisions (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). Vegetative cells have been observed to replicate

within the phagocytic hemocytes and to develop extracellularly in the hemolymph

(Blaske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). After multiple, 2- to 8-cell autosporogenic cell

divisions, a portion of the hemolymph-borne vegetative cells differentiates into cysts

(Blaske-Lietze et al. in press).

Boucias et al. (2001) reported on a Helicosporidium sp. isolated from a simuliid

(Simuliumjonesi Stone & Snoddy) by J. Becnel at United States Department of

Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) in Gainesville, Florida. This

represents the fourth non-culicid nematoceran host record for Helicosporidium. Five

species of mosquitoes have been found to be naturally infected by Helicosporidium.

However, of the five recorded culicid isolates, only three have been examined in detail.

Fukuda et al. (1976) found that a Helicosporidium sp. from Culex nigripalpus Theobald

was infectious to 17 species of mosquitoes and 6 species of insects. Hembree (1979,

1981) discovered Helicosporidia infecting Aedes aegypti (L.) and Culex quinquefasciatus

Say in Thailand and later evaluated the infectivity and biological control potential of this

isolate. Seif and Rifaat (2001) performed a similar study with an isolate from Culex

pipiens L. from Egypt. Bioassays with mosquitoes have also been performed with other

isolates. Fukuda (1976) also reported melanization in mosquitoes infected with a beetle

isolate. Avery and Undeen (1987b) studied the effects of a pond water isolate on three

species of mosquitoes, noting melanization and high initial mortality. The simuliid isolate

(designated SjHe), the subject of our study, has been assayed against six species of









Diptera, three species of Lepidoptera, and a weevil (Boucias et al. 2001; Blaske-Lietze et

al. in press; Conklin et al. 2005).

The objective of our study was to further characterize mosquito-Helicosporidium

interactions; particularly, those involving early mortality and the effect of larval age and

food availability on early mortality, total mortality, and infection. Early mortality

(defined as death before the production of cysts) was common in mosquitoes exposed to

SjHe and a pond water isolate of Helicosporidium (Avery and Undeen 1987b; Conklin et

al. 2005). Their studies suggested that early mortality and melanization indicated that

mosquitoes were unsuitable hosts for these two isolates. With other mosquito isolates,

mortality occurred at the larval-pupal interface. The early mortality observed by Avery

and Undeen (1987b) and Conklin et al. (2005) may have been due to septicemia

facilitated by ingress of the filamentous cell and may be mitigated by larval age or food

level during exposure. In fact, age-based resistance to infection has been reported in three

mosquito isolates ofHelicosporidium (Fukuda et al 1976; Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat

2001). The effect of food availability on susceptibility has never been addressed for

Helicosporidium, but food levels may influence the number of cysts ingested. Also, the

presence of plant chemicals in the diet may alter the viability of Helicosporidium in the

gut.

Finally, we also addressed the effect of Helicosporidium infection on development.

Developmental delay due to infection has been noted in lepidopterans (Blaske and

Boucias 2004), and a weevil (Conklin et al. 2005) but has not been quantified for

mosquitoes, which have a shorter larval period than these other hosts. Hembree (1981)

stated that development of infected Ae. aegypti was delayed 1 to 2 days, but did not offer






4


any data on host development. Conklin et al. (2005) presented head capsule

measurements of mosquitoes exposed to Helicosporidium, which indicated that

development was affected Ae. aegypti but not in An. quadrimaculatus. Data gathered

from our experiments provide much-needed insight into the effect of Helicosporidium on

mosquitoes and early mortality in mosquitoes exposed to Helicosporidium.














CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Helicosporidium History

Helicosporidium was discovered in 1921 by D. Keilin parasitizing larvae of a

ceratopogonid, Dasyhelea obscura (Winn.). Keilin (1921) described this new pathogen in

great detail using fixed smears and sections. His hypothesized life cycle of

Helicosporidium parasiticum included dehiscence of the spore by the filament, invasion

of the host by the ingested "sporozoites," vegetative replication in the host hemocoel, and

reformation of cysts (which later released their filaments and sporozoites after successive

drying and wetting of the dead insect).

Keilin (1921) admitted that the question of the systematic position of

Helicosporidium was difficult, ruling out its easy classification into the Cnidiosporidia

(Sporozoa), Haplosporidia, Serumsporidia, and Mycetozoa. Keilin (1921) compared the

polar capsule of Microsporidia and the spiral filament of Helicosporidium (Figure 2-1),

concluding that the similarities between these two groups were superficial. The

Haplosporidia, he argued, have a plasmodium stage and cysts surrounding the spores,

both of which never appear in Helicosporidium. Also, the spores of the Haplosporidia are

unicellular, unlike the four heterogeneous cells found in Helicosporidium. In the

Serumsporidia, Keilin (1921) noted similarities to a group of parasites infecting

Crustacea, but considered the descriptions of these species to be incomplete, making it

impossible to judge the relationship between the Serumsporidia and Helicosporidium.

Keilin (1921) saw no similarities between Helicosporidium and the Mycetozoa (slime









molds). Unlike Helicosporidium, the Mycetozoa have plasmodium and flagellate stages

and Helicosporidium has more complicated spores than the Mycetozoa. In Keilin's final

evaluation of Helicosporidium, he stated that this pathogen was a new type of Protist that

could be temporarily included in the Sporozoa. Later, Helicosporidium was provisionally

placed in its own order (Helicosporidia) within the Cnidiosporidia (Kudo 1931).

In the 1970s, there was a resurgence of interest in Helicosporidia as new isolates

were discovered in Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and mosquitoes. Based on observations of

Keilin's original materials and an infected Hepialid caterpillar from Argentina, Weiser

(1968, 1970) suggested that Helicosporidium be moved from the Protozoa to the

primitive Ascomycetes of the family Saccharomycetaceae and subfamily

Nematosporidiae. He argued that the structure of the vegetative stages of

Helicosporidium did not resemble any of the protozoa, but he noted that the conservation

of cell shape after separation of the daughter cells in Helicosporidium was similar that of

to plants. Weiser (1970) contended that the filament of Helicosporidium was homologous

to the needle-shaped ascospores of Monosporella unicuspidata, also described by Keilin

(1920) in Dasyhelea obscure. Weiser (1970) also noted that Helicosporidium, like a

typical fungal pathogen, caused lysis of host tissues. In the Hepialid he examined,

however, the infection was limited to a cuticular wound, and it did not appear to spread

throughout the host as in Keilin's Dasyhelea larvae. Instead, tumor-like cysts with a

fibrous, multilayered lining enclosed the helicosporidial cells. No cells were found free in

the hemolymph, and many of the tumor-like cysts contained melanized cells. Weiser

hypothesized that the caterpillar was opportunistically infected through a wound, while

Dasyhelea larvae, bathed in tree wound fluid containing Helicosporidia, could be infected









along the entire body, resulting in systemic infection. The trans-cuticular infection route

was also similar to that of most entomopathogenic fungi. Soon, the first bioassays with

Helicosporidium were carried out (Kellen and Lindegren 1974), and the first electron

micrographs of Helicosporidium were produced (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976). These

studies showed that Helicosporidium could be readily transmitted per os, and that, unlike

the majority of Ascomycetes, the vegetative stages of Helicosporidium underwent mitotic

division in the nucleus and contained well-defined Golgi bodies. These characteristics

aligned Helicosporidium more closely with the Protozoa. After these studies,

Helicosporidium remained incertae sedis for more than 25 years.

Identification of Helicosporidium as an Insect Pathogenic Alga

The diagnostic feature of Helicosporidium is the cyst stage (Figure 2-1 A, B). The

cyst is round to discoid, with the appearance of a ridged biscuit (Boucias et al 2001)

measuring 4-5 [tm in width. Cyst measurements differ considerably from one isolate to

the next (Table A-i) and may be indicative of species differences. Avery and Undeen

(1987b) found that the average size of the cyst of a pond water isolate changed

significantly after passage through a heterologous host, ranging from from

5.58 0.03 [tm to 5.20 + 0.07 [tm after the first passage. The change in cyst size

presumably indicated adaptation to a new host. The cyst is composed of four cells in a

multilaminate pellicle. The pellicle is thicker in the lateral region, peripheral to the

filamentous cell (75-93 nm), than it is in the dorsal/ventral regions opposite the ovoid

cells (50-53 nm) (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). Three ovoid cells are stacked together

along the central axis of the cell. These ovoid cells, originally referred to as

"sporozoites", each possess a peripheral nucleus enclosing a granular cytoplasm (Boucias

et al. 2001). The filamentous cell is wound around the ovoid cells, making 3 to 4 turns.









Upon physical or chemical stimulation, the cyst pellicle ruptures in the thinner,

dorsal/ventral region, releasing the filamentous cell and ovoid cells. The free filamentous

cell is highly resistant, either retaining a spiral conformation or straightening into a

needle-like shape tapered at both ends (Figure 2-1 C). The length of the filamentous cell

varies with the isolate, measuring 37 65 atm in length by 1 atm in diameter (Table A-2).

Filamentous cells are covered in short projections or barbs (340 + 60 nm), oriented in one

direction. Vegetative cells (2-4 atm) are non-motile and also have a resistant pellicle with

a textured outer surface (Figure 2-1 D, E). During autosporulation, the daughter cells are

formed within the pellicle of the mother cell. Each pellicle contains 1, 2, 4, or 8 daughter

cells (Boucias et al. 2001). The vegetative cells are uninucleate with elongate

mitochondria and well-developed Golgi bodies (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976; Blaske-

Lietze et al. in press). Once the daughter cells are released, the shell-like empty pellicle

persists (Figure 2-1 F, G) and is diagnostic of active vegetative replication (Boucias et al.

2001).

Helicosporidium shares some morphological characteristics with algae. Vegetative

replication by autosporulation is prevalent in green microalgae of the Chlorophyta,

including the achlorophyllous genus Prototheca (Bold and Wynne 1978). The Prototheca

were initially described as new organisms with homology to both yeast-like fungi and

green algae (Kruger 1894). Nadakavukaren and McCracken (1973) demonstrated the

presence of double-membraned starch storage granules (diagnostic of a plastid structure)

in Prototheca zopfii Kruger. While a plastid structure has not been localized in

Helicosporidium, the presence of a degenerate plastid is supported by molecular analysis

(Tartar and Boucias 2004; de Koning and Keeling 2004. Ultrastructural studies show that









both Helicosporidium and Prototheca contain well-developed Golgi bodies and elongate,

peripheral mitochondria (Lindegren and Hoffman 1976; Nadakavukaren and McCracken

1973). Significantly, Helicosporidium produces a specialized, diagnostic cyst stage,

which is not seen among the Prototheca. Another important difference between the two

parasites is that Prototheca only infect vertebrate hosts, while Helicosporidium is

restricted to invertebrates.

There is extensive molecular evidence for the classification of Helicosporidium as

a green alga and the relationship between Prototheca and Helicosporidium. Five genomic

sequences have been amplified and sequenced: 18S, 28S, ITS1-5.8S-ITS2, actin and P-

tubulin. All trees constructed with these sequences placed Helicosporidium with the

green algae of the class Trebouxiophyceae (Tartar et al. 2002; Tartar 2004). An EST

library has also been constructed, revealing a high number of unique sequences with no

homology to any known sequences. Using this EST library, 98% of ribosomal protein

sequences supported the green algal origin of Helicosporidium (de Koning et al. 2005).

The mitochondrial cox3 gene has also been sequenced in Helicosporidium, again

demonstrating homology to green algae (Tartar 2004). For example, a Blast N search of

the Helicosporidium cox3 open reading frame gave E values of 5e-25 for Prototheca

wickerhamii Tubaki & Soneda and 4e-13 for Nephroselmis olivacea Stein. The 16S

ribosomal DNA sequence has been obtained from a remnant plastid in Helicosporidium,

with significant homology to that of the Protothecan plastid. The plastid genome of

Helicosporidium has been further characterized by amplification of a series of highly

conserved genes known as the str-cluster. The arrangement of genes in this cluster

indicates that Helicosporidium is closely-related to P. wickerhamii, but is more derived









than its close relative, having a re-organized, highly reduced genome (Tartar et al. 2004).

Finally, the complete plastid genome of Helicosporidium has been sequenced by de

Koning and Keeling (in press), confirming the highly reduced structure of the genome.

The plastid genome of Helicosporidium is highly structured, only 37.5 kb, with very little

non-coding DNA, no inverted repeats, encoding only the minimal number of tRNAs

necessary.

There is also evidence that the plastid genome of Helicosporidium is functional.

Several cDNA sequences for plastid-targeted genes have been identified in the EST

library, suggesting that the plastid has retained functions for fatty acid metabolism,

tetrapyrrole, isoprenoid, and amino acid biosynthesis. The plastid also appears to have a

high reducing potential due to the presence of ferredoxin (de Koning and Keeling 2004).

Many of these roles are shared by the apicoplast of Plasmodium, but the metabolic

diversity of the Helicosporidium plastid exceeds that of Plasmodium. The evolution of

the functional plastid of Helicosporidium may be the result of necessity, as the cyst must

subsist in the environment before it is ingested by a host, or the plastid's metabolic

diversity may be a relic of a more recent autotrophic ancestor (de Koning and Keeling

2004). Recently, Borza et al. (2005) characterized the plastid-targeted proteins in

P. wickerhamii, revealing an even greater metabolic diversity than Helicosporidium,

including carbohydrate metabolism and purine biosynthesis. This finding supports the

hypothesis that plastid reduction is continuous along a parasitism gradient from the

opportunistic parasites such as P. wickerhamii to the obligate parasites like Plasmodium

spp. Helicosporidium appears to lie between these two extremes, as an obligate parasite









with a free infectious stage with the possibility of a facultative cycle under certain

conditions (Boucias et al. 2001) and a moderately reduced plastid.

Although molecular analyses indicate a relationship between Helicosporidium and

algae, the exact relationship between Helicosporidium, Prototheca and other non-

photosynthetic algae remains unclear. Recent phylogenetic analyses of the genus

Prototheca place Helicosporidium with P. wickerhamii and Auxenochlorella

pI /Ith ,'L id, ie/' (Kruger), basal to other Prototheca species (Prototheca moriformis

Kruger, Prototheca stagnora (Cooke), Prototheca ulmea Pore, P. zopfii) (Ueno et al.

2005).

Pathology

Infection Cycle

The Helicosporidia are unique in their biology. There is no known organism with a

similar cyst stage composed of one long filamentous cell coiled around three ovoid cells

within a pellicle. When this cyst is ingested, it dehisces, releasing the filamentous cell.

Dehiscence is probably a result of a combination of protease activity, and pH. Many of

the known host insects of Helicosporidium are herbivores with very basic gut pH levels

(pH 9-12), and lepidopteran gut extracts induce dehiscence (Boucias et al. 2001).

However, proteases alone do not induce dehiscence in vitro, except with pre-treatment

with the membrane permeability enhancer dimethyl sulfoxide (Blaske-Lietze et al. in

press). Mechanical pressure also induces dehiscence (Boucias et al. 2001). High gut pH

may be involved in dehiscence. Since dehiscence is necessary to achieve infection, the

cyst's ability to dehisce is a direct indication of viability.

After dehiscence, the filament and the three ovoid cells or sporoplasms are released

into the host gut. Initially, the sporoplasms were thought to be infective, while the









filamentous cell was a unique means of opening the cyst pellicle (Keilin 1921). It is now

apparent that the filament itself is the infective cell that passes the midgut epithelium to

initiate infection. In fact, the sporoplasms deteriorate in the gut (Boucias et al. 2001;

Blaske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Hypothetically, the passage of the midgut epithelium is

aided by anchoring barbs that have been observed on the surface of the filamentous cell

under SEM (Boucias et al. 2001). However, orientation of the barbs in the gut of

lepidopteran larvae appears to indicate otherwise. Barbs are observed pointing toward the

gut lumen on the lumen side (Figure 2-2 A), but point away from the gut once through

the basal membrane (Figure 2-2 B inset) (Blaske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Convergent

evolution has produced similar ingress mechanisms in fungi and microsporidia. The polar

filament of microsporidia is adapted to inject the parasite's cytoplasm into a susceptible

midgut cell (Bigliardi and Sacchi 2001). Oomycete Haptoglossa erumpens likewise

makes use of a specialized "gun cell" to inject the cell protoplasm into cells of its

nematode host (Glockling and Beakes 2002). In addition to these intracellular parasites,

extracellular parasites are also known to have needle-like penetration mechanisms. For

example, the pathogenic yeast Metschinikowia bicuspidata var. australis, closely related

to Monosporella unicuspidata described by Keilin (1920), has a club-shaped ascus which

liberates its two needle-shaped ascospores upon digestion with snail gut juice or

mechanical pressure, penetrating the host gut wall (Lachance et al. 1976).

Once across the midgut, the filamentous cell divides and releases the first

vegetative cells. This stage of infection is transitory, but the filamentous cell has been

observed emerging from the basal side of the midgut 4-24 hours post-exposure (Figure 2-

2 B). While these filaments appear to pass through the midgut completely, filamentous









cells are not observed to be freely circulating in the hemolymph. Instead, early vegetative

stages appear in the hemolymph and hemocytes 48 hours post-exposure (Blaske-Lietze

and Boucias 2005). The filamentous cell pellicle can be observed inside hemocytes with

early vegetative stages (Figure 2-3). Thus, the host hemocytes appear to be the site of

initial replication. The process of filament to vegetative cell transformation has also been

observed by in vitro studies (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). In vitro, within 24 hours, the

cytoplasm and nucleus of the filament migrate to one end, causing a swelling and

shortening of the filament. Nuclear division followed by cytoplasmic division produces

4 daughter cells within the pellicle of the filament. At 48 hours, the filamentous cell is

observed to rupture along the horizontal axis of the pellicle, releasing the four elongate

cells (Figure 2-2 C), which then divide into eight oval to spherical vegetative cells. These

vegetative cells undergo autosporulation, colonizing the hemocoel of the host.

During autosporulation, nuclear division followed by cytokinesis, and formation of

daughter cell pellicles all take place within the mother cell pellicle. Helicosporidium

produces two, four, or eight daughter cells per mother cell. Secretion of new pellicles and

the shedding of the mother pellicle can occur at two, four, and eight-cell stages, but also

appears to occur often in single-celled vegetative stages, though the significance of

shedding the pellicle at this stage is unknown (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press).

Autosporulation has been observed to occur both intracellularly and in the hemocoel.

Autosporulation continues for many cycles. In vitro cultures experience a lag phase of

1.5 days and a log growth phase between 1.5 and 6 days, reaching the stationary phase at

7 days with a density of 1.27 x 105 cells/tL. The doubling time of in vitro cultures during









the exponential phase is eight hours. Likewise, in vivo, the doubling time in the

hemolymph is seven hours (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press).

Several days after infection, cysts begin to form in the host. The timing of cyst

formation may be related to the development of the host, as cyst formation has been

observed to occur more slowly in long-lived hosts (Conklin et al. 2005). The stimulus to

produce cysts in the host is unknown. Cyst formation does not occur in vitro, but

injection of in vitro produced vegetative cells consistently results in cyst formation. High

cell densities and media depletion do not appear to be important in cyst differentiation.

The death of the host insect also does not appear to affect cyst differentiation. It is

thought that the cyst is derived from the 4-cell vegetative stages which are produced at a

genetically determined rate, since the proportion of cysts produced from in vitro cultures

when injected into a host corresponds to the proportion of 4-cell vegetative stages present

in the culture (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). Rather than forming cysts, adherent,

multicellular clusters of cells known as pamelloid colonies form during long-term in vitro

culture (Figure 2-4). These colonies reflect an inability of the cells to separate during

autosporulation, and have been observed in other green algae (Blaske-Lietze et al. in

press). Once formed, presumably the cysts are released into the environment to infect the

next generation of hosts. The method of cyst dispersal is still unknown. Cysts appear to

be retained in the insect after death (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). Vertical transmission is

possible in lepidopteran hosts at a low frequency (Blaske and Boucias 2004). However,

vertical transmission appears to be incidental, as Helicosporidia have not been observed

invading ovaries (Blaske and Boucias 2004). Fukuda et al. (1976) found no vertical

transmission in Culex salinarius Coquillett.









Host Response

The host response to Helicosporidium infection is variable. Gross signs of

infection such as slow movement and severely retarded growth have been observed in a

few hosts (Keilin 1921; Hembree 1979; Conklin et al. 2005). The primary sign of

infection is milky white hemolymph (Boucias et al. 2001; Sayre and Clark 1979; Conklin

et al. 2005). In lepidopteran hosts, infected larvae often molt into deformed pupae or

adults (Blaske and Boucias 2004).

Delayed development appears to occur in some hosts (Hembree 1981; Blaske and

Boucias 2004; Conklin et al. 2005). Hembree (1981) reported that infected Ae. aegypti

larvae pupated 1-2 days later than uninfected larvae and that pupation was lengthened.

Quantitative data on this observed delay in development was lacking, however. Blaske

and Boucias (2004) found that developmental delay varied among susceptible noctuid

species. Pupal weight was reduced in infected H. zea, but not in Tricoplusia ni (Hubner)

or Spodoptera exigua (Hiibner). Pupation was delayed in H. zea and S. exigua, but not in

T. ni. Eclosion was delayed in S. exigua, but not in H. zea or T ni. However, a high

proportion of infected adults and pupae of all species were malformed and adult

longevity of infected individuals was reduced for all species (Blaske and Boucias 2004).

Conklin et al. (2005) reported reduction in larval weight gain in infected Diaprepes

abbreviatus (L.).

Helicosporidium, for the most part, appears to be able to effectively evade internal

host defenses. The filamentous cell is apparently attacked and phagocytosed during initial

infection events, but resists lysis within the phagosome, producing daughter cells that are

eventually released from the hemocytes (Blaske-Lietze and Boucias 2005). Boucias et al.

(2001) found that circulating hemocytes did not attack vegetative cells. Unlike









entomopathogenic fungi that reduce the number of circulating hemocytes or impede

phagocytosis, the hemocytes appear to be normal in both appearance and number in

Helicosporidia-infected hosts (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press; Boucias et al. 2001). While

the majority of Helicosporidium-host interactions have shown the remarkable stealth of

Helicosporidium, there are four reports in the literature of encapsulation, nodulation, or

melanization in response to infection. Weiser (1970) described the formation of

multicellular sheaths surrounding Helicosporidium that appeared to originate from a

cuticular wound. The cuticle had formed a callus over the wound, enclosing some

vegetative stages and cysts. Around the wound, the masses of helicosporidial cells were

encapsulated by layers of cells originating in the hypodermis with no hemocytes evident.

Helicosporidial cells were melanized in most areas. In addition to the cells encapsulated

near the cuticular wound, helicosporidial cells were found encapsulated by lymphocytes

in other areas of the host. Likewise, Boucias et al. (2001) found that Galleria mellonella

injected with purified cysts phagocytosed the cysts formed hemocytic granulomas,

melanized hemocytes attached to various tissues. Within these granulomas, vegetative

cells continued to multiply, and invaded host tissues, but no freely-circulating vegetative

cells were observed. Fukuda et al. (1976) found that a Helicosporidium isolate from a

beetle produced localized infections in mosquito larvae along with melanization, but a

mosquito isolate tested in the same study produced systemic infections with no

melanization. A pond-water isolate produced a similar response in mosquito larvae

(Avery and Undeen 1987b, Kim and Avery 1986). It is apparent that the origin of the

isolate may have an affect on whether or not the host will exhibit an immune response to

vegetative replication.









Typically, infection by Helicosporidium does not cause acute mortality in insect

hosts. Most infected insects live until pupation or even adulthood (Fukuda et al. 1976;

Hembree 1981; Blaske and Boucias 2004; Blaske-Lietze and Boucias 2005; Blaske-

Lietze et al. in press). The precise cause of death is unknown, though death at the larval-

pupal or pupal-adult interface may indicate a disruption in molting behavior or endocrine

system. At the time of death, the host hemocoel is full of helicosporidial cells. In

Helicoverpa zea, 9.7 x 106 cells are present in each microliter of hemolymph at 10 days

post-exposure. Such a large number of invasive cells may restrict hemolymph flow and

deplete nutrients.

Early mortality has been reported in mosquito larvae. Fukuda et al. (1976) report

that first instar Cx. salinarius exposed to high dosages for a long period of time rarely

survived to the fourth instar, but did not mention the precise time at which this mortality

occurred. Avery and Undeen (1987b) report that the majority of mortality to mosquito

larvae occurred within 72 hours post-exposure, and attributed this response to septicemia.

Host Records and Ecology

Members of the genus Helicosporidium have been discovered worldwide,

parasitizing a wide range of invertebrate taxa. Helicosporidium parasiticum, the only

described species in the genus, was discovered in larvae of a ceratopogonid living in tree

wounds in Cambridge, England. There are 49 reports of natural Helicosporidium

infections in invertebrates, spanning 37 described species and five continents (Table 2-1).

Natural infections have occurred in mites, cladocerans, Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera,

Lepidoptera, Oligochaeta, and parasitic trematodes. Most natural infections are associated

with hosts that inhabit moist environments such as tree wounds (Keilin 1921; Yaman and

Radek 2005), water (Avery and Undeen 1987a; Blaske and Boucias 2004; Boucias et al.









2001; Chapman 1967, 1974; Fukuda et al. 1976; Hembree 1979; Pekkarinen 1993; Sayre

and Clark 1978; Seif and Rifaat 2001), rotten fruit (Lindegren and Okumura 1973), and

forest soils (Purrini 1979, 1980, 1981). Unlike the Prototheca, which are often isolated as

free vegetative cells in sewage, soil, and tree wounds, vegetative cells of Helicosporidia

have never been isolated outside of a host.

In laboratory assays, various Helicosporidium isolates have been transmitted to 75

known species of mites, Coleoptera, Diptera, and Lepidoptera. (Table 2-2) Only one

assay has been performed on a vertebrate system. Helicosporidium was intubated into the

stomachs of 12 golden hamsters. Thirty days later the hamsters were examined and found

free of infection (Hembree 1981). Significantly, Helicosporidium does not grow in vitro

at 35C, and cysts have reduced infectivity when stored at 37C for more than a few hours

(Boucias et al 2001; Hembree 1981).


Helicosporidium and Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are one of the best-studied hosts of Helicosporidium. The discovery of

Helicosporidium in a single larva of Culex territans Walker (Chapman 1967) first opened

the question of the biological control potential of Helicosporidium. While

Helicosporidium has been transmitted to 27 species in 8 genera of Culicidae in the lab,

natural infections have only been found in 5 species of mosquito: 4 Culex spp. and

Ae. aegypti. These isolates have originated from Lousiana, Thailand, and Egypt. Two

other nematoceran host records exist. The first described host of Helicosporidium was a

ceratopogonid (Keilin 1921), and Helicosporidium has also been isolated from S. jonesi

in Florida.









Of the 27 species of mosquito infected in the laboratory, 25 of these species were

infected by mosquito isolates, 7 by heterologous isolates, and 5 by both mosquito and

heterologous isolates. Mosquito isolates have been transmitted to 6 species of

Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. Anopheles spp. have been reported to be highly susceptible

to both a mosquito isolate (Fukuda et al. 1976) and a heterologous isolate (Avery and

Undeen 1987b). However, Culex spp. are also very susceptible to mosquito isolates

(Fukuda et al. 1976; Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001). Predatory Toxorhynchites

splendens (Wiedemann) larvae are susceptible to Helicosporidium infection if fed

infected larvae (Hembree 1981).

Bioassay systems have varied considerably from isolate to isolate, making

comparisons between isolates difficult. The various bioassay methods for the major

mosquito bioassays are summarized in Table 2-3. Low dosages and long exposure times

probably best imitate natural infection conditions. Fukuda et al (1976) and Hembree

(1981) do not specify at what time post-exposure infection was assayed. Seif and Rifaat

(2001) reported that the time of assay was 10 days after exposure, while Avery and

Undeen (1987b) and Kim and Avery (1986) assayed for infection at adult emergence. In

most assays live vegetative stages or cysts indicated infection, but the infection criteria of

Avery and Undeen (1987b), included live and melanized helicosporidial cells.

In all mosquito bioassays, Helicosporidium acted in a dosage-dependent manner.

However, due to variations in bioassay methods, estimated ICso's varied greatly. For

example, the estimated IC5o of Cx. salinarius was greater than 9.1 x 106 cysts/mL when

measured by Fukuda et al. (1976), but was only 2.6 x 104 cysts/mL when measured by

Avery and Undeen (1987b). Hembree (1981) and Seif and Rifaat (2001) had comparable









exposure methods, resulting in similar ICso's for the two Aedes sp. they tested. The

estimated ICso's for each bioassay are summarized in Table 2-4. In addition to the

concentration of cysts in the exposure container, the time of exposure was directly related

to infection rates. Longer exposure led to higher levels of infection and mortality in all

bioassays (Fukuda et al. 1976; Avery and Undeen 1987b; Seif and Rifaat 2001). The

degree to which exposure time had an effect depended on the dosage tested and the age of

the larvae. If 24-hour old larvae were exposed for 24 hours, they would often molt into

the next instar during the exposure time, introducing another variable of physiological

age (Hembree 1981). Hembree (1981) exposed 24-hour old Ae. aegypti to

5 x 102 cysts/mL for a series of times from 1 hour to 48 hours. At this dosage, there was a

3-fold increase in infection by increasing exposure time from 1 to 48 hours. Seif and

Rifaat (2001), on the other hand, tested third instar Cx. pipiens at the same dosage, and

showed a 10-fold increase in infection from 1 hour to 48 hours. Results at higher dosages

(1 x 103 and 5 x 103 cysts/mL) were nearly identical for the two bioassays. Fukuda et al.

(1976) reported a 9-fold decrease in number of surviving larvae from 1 hour to 8 hours,

but the infection rate did not follow the same trend, remaining around 50% for exposure

times of 1, 2, and 8 hours.

Susceptibility decreased rapidly with larval age. Hembree (1981) notes that

physiological age instarr) rather than chronological age is the most important factor for

susceptibility. In his assays with Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 x 103 cysts/mL, percent

infection dropped from 63% to zero from 24-hour old larvae (first instar) to 48-hour old

larvae (second instar). Likewise Fukuda et al. (1976) found a 3-fold reduction in infection

rate in larvae 1 day to 3 days old. Seif and Rifaat (2001) reported that the IC5o of fourth









instar Cx. pipiens was 7-fold higher than the first instar larvae, and the second instar

larvae just 1.2-fold higher than the first instar larvae.

Biocontrol Potential

In order for a biocontrol agent to be successfully integrated into an IPM strategy, it

must be safe, easy to obtain, inexpensive, and able to survive storage and environmental

extremes. Helicosporidium appears to be safe to vertebrates due to temperature

limitations, though no systematic safety analysis has been performed on Helicosporidium.

The wide host range of Helicosporidium may be problematic, however, in systems where

non-target invertebrates are a concern. Feasibility of biological control has been assessed

by examining in vivo and in vitro production of cysts, storage, and the effects of

environmental conditions on cyst viability.

In Vivo Production

Helicosporidium has been successfully mass-produced in vivo in Cx. salinarius

(Fukuda et al. 1976), Ae. aegypti (Hembree 1981), and Cx. pipiens (Seif and Rifaat 2001)

as well as S. exigua (Hembree 1981), Carpophilus mutilatus (Erichson), Paramyelois

transitella (Walker) (Kellen and Lindegrean 1973), H. zea (Avery and Undeen 1987b;

Boucias et al. 2001; Blaske and Boucias 2004), and Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval)

(Seif and Rifaat 2001). Methods for in vivo production have changed over time.

Mosquito hosts were invariably infected by exposure to a cyst suspension of a known

concentration. Hembree (1981) reports optimization procedures to determine the

appropriate dose, exposure time, and age of larvae to use to produce the highest number

of cysts per insect. Lepidopteran hosts, on the other hand, were infected by several

different methods. Kellen and Lindegren (1974) infected P. transitella larvae with diet

containing 2.6 x 106 cysts/g, though the methods by which these cysts were obtained and









integrated into the diet are not described. Hembree (1981) injected S. exigua larvae with

gradient-purified cyst preparations. Avery and Undeen (1987b) allowed starved H. zea

larvae to feed for 24 hours on a droplet containing cysts. Seif and Rifaat (2001) fed

S. littoralis on castor oil leaves treated with a droplet containing cysts. Purification

protocols likewise vary. Infected mosquitoes were collected and homogenized in

deionized water. In some studies, this was the extent of the cyst purification protocol

(Fukuda et al. 1967; Hembree 1981). Seif and Rifaat (2001) added a centrifugation step

into the purification protocol for Cx. pipiens. Lepidopteran hosts, having much more

tissue and cellular debris, were macerated and filtered, then cysts were purified on Ludox

or Percoll gradient centrifugation using methods similar to Undeen and Vavra (1998) for

purification of microsporidia (Avery and Undeen 1987b; Boucias et al. 2001).

The number of cysts produced in different insect hosts is summarized in Table 2-6.

Although cyst production in lepidopteran hosts has been reported to be 2-3 orders of

magnitude higher than mosquito hosts, infectivity of cysts may be reduced by

amplification in a heterologous host. For example, Hembree (1981) reported that cysts

produced in S. exigua were less infectious to Ae. aegypti than cysts produced in

Ae. aegypti. Seif and Rifaat (2001) also produced cysts in a lepidopteran host but did not

compare the infectivity of lepidopteran-produced cysts with mosquito-produced cysts.

Interestingly, Avery and Undeen (1987b) reported significant changes in cyst size after as

little as one passage through a heterologous host, indicating a rapid shift in phenotype

based on host (Avery and Undeen 1987b).

In Vitro Production

Helicosporidium is capable of growth on many kinds of media. Boucias et al.

(2001) found that vegetative growth was possible on insect tissue culture medium,









Candida liquid broth, Vogel-Bonner minimal broth, and SD broth. The only medium

tested that did not support vegetative growth was Czapek Dox broth, which only supports

growth of organisms capable of using inorganic sources of nitrogen. Cysts placed in

enriched growth media will dehisce, releasing filamentous cells which produce vegetative

cells (Boucias et al. 2001). Vegetative replication continues for many cycles in vitro,

eventually resulting in pamelloid colonies (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press). Cyst formation

has never been observed in vitro. More research is needed to understand the cues

requisite for cyst formation. If the signals can be determined, in vitro production of cysts

may be possible in the future.

Storage and Stability

Storage of Helicosporidium has been addressed several times over, but it is difficult

to compare many of these experiments due to differences in methods or time of storage.

High temperatures consistently deactivate Helicosporidium. Hembree (1981) reported

that Helicosporidium exposed to 420C for 24 hours has significantly lower infectivity,

and exposure to 500C for even 15 minutes reduced transmission at the highest

concentration to only 4%. However, cysts withstood 24C and 32C for 24 hours with no

loss of infectivity. At room temperature, storage for 10 days reduced infectivity to only

28% at a dosage of 3 x 105 cysts/mL, and after 17 days of storage at room temperature,

infectivity dropped to 6%. In vitro, vegetative stages do not replicate at 350C, and cells

exposed to 350C for 4 days are killed (Boucias et al. 2001).

Cold storage tolerance varies among Helicosporidium isolates. In general, purified

cysts retain infectivity well when stored in deionized water at 4-50C, an average

household refrigerator temperature (Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Avery and

Undeen 1987b). Hembree (1981) reported that, when stored at 4-50C, cysts began to lose









infectivity around 6 weeks. Seif and Rifaat (2001), however, reported that storage at the

same temperature preserved infectivity through 6 months. Avery and Undeen (1987b)

reported that the LC5o of cysts stored for 3 months at 5C increased from 8.3 x 103 to

4.3 x 105 cysts/ml. At -150C, or household freezer temperature, Avery and Undeen

(1987b) and Seif and Rifaat (2001) reported that infectivity was retained for 6 months.

The data of Seif and Rifaat (2001) indicated that cysts frozen at -150C began to show

decline quicker than the cysts stored at 5C. Hembree (1981) also reported that cysts

frozen at -700C in cryoprotectant retained infectivity after 6 months of storage, and

storage at this temperature without cryoprotectant for 6 months destroyed infectivity. It is

possible that cryoprotectants at ultra-low temperature may be a long-term storage

solution.

The effect of dessication on cyst viability is also variable. Hembree (1981) found

that lyophilized and vacuum-dried cysts completely lost infectivity after 4 weeks at room

temperature. Avery and Undeen (1987b) air-dried cysts at 5C, and found that the LC5o of

dried cysts stored for 5 days increased from 8.3 x 103 cysts/mL to 9.2 x 104 cysts/mL,

indicating a 10-fold loss of infectivity. Seif and Rifaat (2001) found that air-dried spores

held at room temperature had lost all infectivity when assayed after 3 months of storage

Hembree (1981) performed a series of experiments evaluating the effect of

environmental conditions on Helicosporidium infectivity. One hour exposure to UV light

destroyed cyst viability. Exposure to buffer solutions with pH ranging from 10.5 to 3.0

for 24 hours at 40C had no significant affect on viability. A 5% solution of household

detergent for 24 hours at 40C had no effect on infectivity, but a 10% solution of detergent

reduced infectivity by 20-43%. Exposure to saline (NaC1) for 24 hours eliminated









viability at 1.71 M (10% NaCl by weight). At 0.85 M (5%), infectivity was reduced by

8 to 52%.

Table 2-1. Side-by-side comparison of the filamentous cell of Helicosporidium and the
polar-capsule filament of Cnidosporidia (Microsporidia) modified from Keilin
(1921). Later it would be shown that the filamentous cell does in fact unroll in
the intestine of a host, demonstrating convergent evolution of these two
pathogen ingress mechanisms.
Spiral filament ofHelicosporidium Polar-capsule filament of Cnidosporidia
(1) Filament is not enclosed in a polar (1) Filament is enclosed in a capsule of
capsule but lies free beneath the wall of which it forms a part.
spore.
(2) Filament always unrolls in the dead (2) Filament does not unroll until spores
body of its host. reach intestine of a second host.
(3) Filament unrolls slowly. (3) Filament is shot out.
(4) Filament is pointed at both ends and is (4) Filament is pointed at only one end and
wide and ribbon-like in the middle. very fine.
(5) Axial portion of filament is very (5) No chromatic axial portion, degenerated
chromatic, nucleus is well formed in nucleus upon wall of terminal capsule.
anterior third of filament.
(6) Filament is robust and very resistant in (6) Filament fine and very fragile.
all media.




























- E

-I


Figure 2-1. Cell types and structures of Helicosporidia. A) SEM image of the cyst.
B) TEM image of the cyst. C) SEM image of a filamentous cell being released
from a cyst: note barbs on surface. D) and E) SEM and TEM images of the
vegetative cell. F) and G) SEM and TEM images of the vegetative pellicle.
(Boucias et al. 2001; Blaske-Lietze et al. in press, used with permission)
















































Figure 2-2. Initial infection events and development of the filamentous cell. A) Shows the
filamentous cell embedded in the midgut microvilli, B) the filamentous cells
emerging from the basal lamina of the midgut B inset: note orientation of
barbs is away from gut lumen once through the basal lamina, C) the in vitro
development of the filamentous cell, producing 4 elongate daughter cells
which divide into 8 spherical vegetative cells. (Boucias et al. 2001; Blaske-
Leitze and Boucias 2005; Blaske-Leitze et al. in press, used with permission)


































Figure 2-3. Filament development in vivo within a hemocyte. Arrows indicate early
vegetative cells and remainder of filamentous cell pellicle. (Blaske-Leitze and
Boucias 2005, used with permission)


Figure 2-4. Pamelloid colony formed in vitro after several media transfers. (Blaske-Lietze
et al. in press, used with permission)









Table 2-2. Natural hosts of Helicosporidium


Group
Coleoptera


Acarina

Diptera



Collembola
Cladocera
Lepidoptera
Other
(Oligochaeta,
Trematoda)
*2 identified speci


Species Locations
13 USA, Mexico,
Hawaii,
Germany,
Africa, Turkey
11 England,
Germany
10 England, USA,
Thailand,
Germany, Egypt

3* Germany, USA
1 USA
1 Argentina
2 Germany,
Finland


References
Kellen and Lindegren 1973; Lindegren
and Okmura 1973; Purrini 1980, 1985;
Blaske and Boucias 2004; Yaman and
Radek 2005
Keilin 1921; Purrini 1981, 1984

Keilin 1921; Chapman 1967, 1974;
Hembree 1979; Fukuda et al. 1976;
Purrini 1980; Seif and Rifaat 2001;
Boucias et al. 2001
Purrini 1984; Avery and Undeen 1987a
Sayre and Clark 1978
Weiser 1970
Purrini 1980; Pekkarinen 1993


es


Table 2-3. Laboratory-produced Helicosporidium infections
Group Species References
Acarina 3 Kellen and Lindegren 1973
Coleoptera 13 Kellen and Lindegren 1973; Fukuda et al. 1976;
Conklin et al. 2005
Diptera 26 Kellen and Lindegren 1973; Sayre and Clark
1978; Hembree 1979, 1981; Fukuda et al. 1976,
1985; Kim and Avery 1986; Avery and Undeen
1987a,b; Seif and Rifaat 2001; Boucias et al.
2001
Lepidoptera 11 Kellen and Lindegren 1973; Fukuda et al. 1976;
Kim and Avery 1986; Avery and Undeen
1987a,b; Hembree 1981; Seif and Rifaat 2001;
Boucias et al. 2001; Blaske and Boucias 2004

Table 2-4. Summary of bioassay methods for four major mosquito studies
Exposure Dose Volume Number
Authors Isolate source time (hours) (cysts/mL) (mL) of larvae
Fukuda et al. Cx. nigripalpus, 1-8 2 x 105 to 5 500-
1976 Cx. salinarius 1 x 107 1000
Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti 24 5 x 102 to 20 100
5x 104
Avery and Pond water 24 1 x 103 to 100 150
Undeen 1987b 4 x 105
Seifand Rifaat Cx. pipiens 24 5 x 102 to 100 100
2001 8 x 103










Table 2-5. The IC50 of first instar larvae as recorded for various isolates and species.
Authors Species IC5o (cysts/mL)
Fukuda et al. 1976 An. quadrimaculatus 1.7 x 10'
Cx. salinarius > 9.1 x 106
Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti 1 x 103
Avery and Undeen 1987b An. quadrimaculatus 4.4 x 102
Ae. aegypti 2.2 x 104
Cx. salinarius 2.6 x 104
Seif and Rifaat 2001 Cx. pipiens 1.9 x 102
Cx. atennatus 5 x 102
Cx. perexiguus 5 x 102
Cs. longiareolata 1.7 x 103
Ae. caspius 1.4 x 103

Table 2-6. Cyst production in different hosts
Production
Authors Species (cysts/individual)
Hembree 1981 Ae. aegypti 3.1 x 10'
S. exigua 2.0 x 107
Seif and Rifaat 2001 Cx. pipiens 8.1 x 105
S. littolaris 6.2 x 108
Avery and Undeen 1987b H. zea 7.4 x 108














CHAPTER 3
MATERIALS AND METHODS

Preparation of Helicosporidium

Cyst Amplification

The SjHe isolate of Helicosporidium from the black fly, S. jonesi was collected in

2002 and 2003 by J. Becnel at USDA ARS in Gainesville, Florida (Boucias et al. 2001)

SjHe was amplified in Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) and extracted on a continuous gradient

of Ludox HS40 (Perkin Elmer Life Sciences, Boston MA) following the protocol of

Blaske & Boucias (2004). Eggs ofH. zea were purchased from USDA, ARS, Stoneville,

MS. Neonates and larvae were provided with a wheat-germ-based, semi-synthetic diet

containing antimicrobial agents and preservatives (Shore and Hale 1965). Neonates were

hatched in groups and transferred individually to 24-well plates with diet after reaching

the second or third instar. All larvae were maintained at constant conditions (27 1 C,

70 5% RH, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours). Fourth and fifth instar larvae ofH. zea

were injected with 5 pL of cyst suspension at 2 x 105 cysts/insect. After injection, larvae

were transferred to individual diet cups and incubated two weeks as above. Infected

pupae and late-instar larvae were homogenized in 200 mL of deionized water with a few

crystals of 1-Phenyl 2-Thiourea. The homogenate was filtered twice through paper

toweling then subjected to two cycles of low-speed centrifugation (4,000 x g, 10 min).

The resulting pellet was layered on top of a Ludox gradient formed with a gradient maker

from 5% to 60% Ludox in deionized water. After high-speed centrifugation (16,000 x g)

for one hour, the cyst-containing band was collected and subjected to several cycles of









low-speed centrifugation (4,000 x g, 10 min) to remove residual gradient material. All

cyst preparations were stored in deionized water at 40C until use. The number of cysts in

each preparation was determined with a hemacytometer using the average of two counts.

In Vitro Dehiscence

Lepidopteran gut extracts were collected from H. zea following the protocol of

Boucias et al. (2001). Midguts of fourth or fifth instar H. zea were dissected out and

homogenized gently, then centrifuged at 16,000 x g for 15 minutes. The supernatant was

removed, passed through a MC centrifugal filter unit (0.45 [am, Millipore Corp., Bedford,

MA) and frozen at -200C in 100 aL aliquots. Rate of dehiscence was evaluated before

assays by thawing an aliquot of gut extract and adding 1 x 106 cysts to the gut extract and

gently mixing. After incubation at room temperature for 30 minutes, the cysts and

filaments were washed in deionized water 2 times using a microcentrifuge at 2,000 x g

for 10 minutes. The pellet was resuspended in 100 aL of deionized water and the percent

dehiscence was quantified with a hemacytometer.

Host Range

Bioassays assessed the activity of SjHe against two mosquito species,

An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti. Mosquitoes were obtained from colonies

maintained at the USDA ARS in Gainesville, FL. Anopheles quadrimaculatus were

obtained as first instars, while Ae. aegypti eggs were obtained from the colony and

hatched in 10 mL deionized water with 1 mg of hatch media (finely ground alfalfa and

potbelly pig chow mixture (2:1)) under a vacuum. First instar mosquitoes were

transferred using a Pasteur pipette and counted into an enamel pan. Larvae were collected

on a fine-mesh cloth was and inverted into the bioassay container. For each bioassay,









100 first-instars were placed in a petri dish with 98 mL of deionized water amended with

a 1 mL dose of SjHe (treatment) or deionized water (control) and a 1-mL volume of 2%

alfalfa and potbelly pig chow mixture (2:1) as a nutritional source (final food

concentration 0.2 mg/mL). Larvae were incubated at constant conditions (26 1C,

photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours) for 24 hours then transferred to enamel pans, and

water was added to a volume to 500 mL. Food was provided ad libitum. After 7 days, the

surviving individuals were counted in each pan and a sub-sample of 12 examined

randomly for infection under phase-contrast optics. Individuals containing live

helicosporidial cells (vegetative or cyst stage) were considered infected. For each species,

three replicates were performed at 1 x105 cysts/mL. Each replicate was accompanied by

an untreated control.

Age Susceptibility

All further assays were carried out with Ae. aegypti, due to the low control

mortality and synchronous development of this species. Large groups ofAe. aegypti were

hatched and transferred in groups of 500 neonate larvae to enamel pans with 500 mL of

water. To obtain second, third, and fourth instars, larvae were reared at constant

conditions (26 1C, photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours) and checked daily for

development. Food was provided ad libitum. Immediately after molting into the

appropriate stage, the larvae were transferred to large petri dishes in groups of 100 as

above. The four larval instars were treated at the following dosages. First instars:

1 x 103 to 1 x105 cysts/mL, second instars: 1 x 104 to 5 x105 cysts/mL, third instars: 1 x 104

to 1 x 106 cysts/mL, and fourth instars: 1 x 104 to 1 106 cysts/mL. An untreated control

group was included for each larval instar in each replicate. Larvae were assayed as above









at 7 days post-exposure. If larvae were held long enough for adults to emerge, larvae

were transferred to specially constructed mosquito breeders (see Appendix B) rather than

enamel pans, allowing for collection of adults. Adults were provided with cotton balls

soaked in 10% sucrose solution. When present, surviving pupae and adults were

examined for infection at 7 days post-exposure in addition to surviving larvae. The

percent infection of surviving pupae and adults was included in the percent infection.

The effect of age ofAe. aegypti within the first instar was also examined at

1 x 104 and 5 x 104 cysts/mL. Within two hours of the beginning of hatching, Ae. aegypti

larvae were counted into groups of 500 as above, placed in 500 mL of deionized water

with food, and incubated for 12-24 hours. First instar larvae two hours old were assayed

at the same time as 12 hour old and 24 hour old first instar larvae. In each assay, 100

larvae were exposed to Helicosporidia for 24 hours with 0.2 mg/mL of food as above. An

untreated control group was included for each larval age and replicate. After 7 days,

surviving larvae were counted and a random sample of 12 examined for infection.

Additional experiments were conducted to examine the possibility of latent

infections that become detectable only in pupae or adults. Groups of 100 larvae were

exposed as first instars to dosages from 5 x 102 to 1 x 104 cysts/mL as above. These were

maintained up to 3 weeks post-exposure, fed ad libitum at constant conditions (26 + 1 C,

photoperiod of 12:12 [L:D] hours). The number of larvae, pupae, and adults were counted

every 2 days. Individuals were assayed for infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure

using a random subsample of larvae, pupae, and adults.









Food Concentration Bioassays

The effect of food concentration during exposure to Helicosporidia was examined

in first instar Ae. aegypti. First instar larvae were counted into groups of 25 and exposed

to 1 x103, 1 x104 or 1 xl05 cysts/mL with 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 or 0.4 mg/mL of food for

24 hours at constant conditions as above. After 24 hours of exposure to food and

Helicosporidia, the larvae were transferred to enamel pans, maintained for 7 days and

assayed for infection as above. Mortality was recorded daily.

To further examine the effects of food concentration on ingestion of Helicosporidia,

cysts were fixed in 2.5% glutaraldehyde for at least 5 hours, rinsed and labeled with

Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) in sodium bicarbonate buffer (pH 9.5) overnight. The

resulting fixed, labeled cysts were rinsed 3 times in deionized water in a microcentrifuge

at 2,000 x g for 10 minutes. Cysts were counted with a hemacytometer and added to

100 mL of deionized water with 25 first-instar Ae. aegypti at a dosage of

1 x105 cysts/mL. Three different food concentrations (0.1, 0.2, 0.4 mg/mL) were tested.

After 1, 2, or 4 hours of exposure at 260C, all 25 larvae were removed and rinsed three

times in deionized water. The larvae were homogenized in 0.05% SDS by sonication for

15 seconds, then the labeled cysts in the homogenate were quantified with a

hemacytometer. The concentration of cysts in the suspension was used to calculate the

average number of cysts ingested per insect.

Host Development

To examine the effect of infection on development time, groups of 100 first instar

Ae. aegypti larvae were exposed 1 x 104 cysts/mL of SjHe for 24 hours as above. Larvae

were rinsed and each transferred into a well of a 24-well plate using a Pasteur pipette.

Each well contained 3 mL of water and 0.02 mg/mL of food. Larvae were held at 260C









and evaluated every day for molting, pupation, or death. Food was provided ad libitum

until pupation. Two plates of control and two plates of exposed larvae were used.

Individuals were assayed for infection after adult emergence.

Statistical Analyses

Where control mortality was not necessary to statistical analyses, mortality of each

assay was corrected with the control group mortality using Abbott's formula (Abbott

1921). Statistical analyses were done with the SAS System for Windows (SAS Institute

1999). Percent infection and percent mortality data were subjected to logistic regression

using proc genmod. Ingestion of cysts, sex ratios, dehiscence data, and time to pupation

were subjected to analysis of variance by the procedure for general linear models (glm) in

balanced designs and the procedure for mixed linear models (mixed) in unbalanced

designs (Neter et al. 1990; Rao 1998; Younger 1998). The means were separated by the

least square means statement (ls means).














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Cyst Amplification and Dehiscence

In vitro dehiscence of cysts of SjHe amplified from H. zea was highly variable.

Dehiscence rates collected from five selected cyst preparations amplified from January to

April 2005 varied from 34 to 70% immediately after purification. Percent cyst dehiscence

also changed during several weeks of storage at 4C (Figure 4-1), rapidly declining 1-2

weeks after purification. After this initial decline, dehiscence rates remained at a low,

constant baseline below 10%. In bioassays with Ae. aegypti, infection and mortality

increased with increasing percent dehiscence (Figure 4-2). Two of the 5 cyst preparations

subjected to bioassays had dehiscence rates above 20% (2/9/05 and 3/9/05), and produced

an average of 32 15% mortality, and an average percent infection of 53 20%. Other

cyst preparations having dehiscence rates below 10% below 10%, and produced an

average percent mortality of 17 24% produced average percent infection of 20 + 11%.

Host Range

Both Ae. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus were susceptible to infection with SjHe

(Table 4-1). Overall, susceptibility to infection and mortality was higher for

An. quadrimaculatus. Early mortality, represented by 1-day percent mortality, was higher

for An. quadrimaculatus in SjHe-treated groups (df= 1, P < 0.0001, 2 = 173.2), but

control mortality at 1 day post-exposure was also significantly higher for An.

quadrimaculatus (df = 1, P = <0.0001, x2 = 37.1). A similar trend held for 7-day

mortality (Table 4-2).









At 7 days post-exposure, the hemolymph of infected mosquito larvae was filled

with vegetative stages and cysts. Melanized helicosporidial cells were also observed in

the head and thorax region of infected mosquitoes. Infection of surviving

An. quadrimaculatus at 7 days post-exposure was higher than Ae. aegypti (df= 1, P

<0.0001, 2 = 65.9). All measurements of mortality and infection were dose-dependent.

Melanization, however, was statistically independent of dosage in both species (df= 1,

P = 0.6872, 2 = 0.16). Melanization was also independent of infection (df= 1,

P = 0.4596, x = 0.55). However, percent melanization in surviving individuals 7 days

post-exposure was significantly higher in Ae. aegypti than An. quadrimaculatus (df= 1, P

<0.001, 2 = 49.27).

Age Susceptibility

There was a pronounced decrease in susceptibility with increasing larval age of Ae.

aegypti (Table 4-3, 4-4). Statistical analysis by probit to obtain LD50 values for each age

could not be carried out due to lack of consistent mortality or infection above 50% at

7 days post-exposure. However, at 7 days post-exposure to 1 x 105 cysts/mL, first instar

larvae had significantly higher mortality and infection rates than second (df= 1,

P <0.0001, 2 = 204.88) or third (df= 1, P < 0.0001, 2 = 254.15) instar larvae. Overall,

third and fourth instar larvae were the least susceptible to infection or mortality.

Age within the first instar also had an effect on susceptibility ofAe. aegypti. When

exposed at 2 hours post-hatch, Ae. aegypti exhibited higher early mortality (represented

by 3-day percent mortality) and 7-day mortality than 12-hour old larvae or 24-hour old

larvae (Table 4-6, 4-7). Susceptibility to infection was also reduced in 24-hour old larvae

when compared to 2-hour old larvae (df= 1, P < 0.0001, X2 = 17.4). Aedes aegypti larvae

exposed to 5 x 103 cysts/mL 24 hours after hatching were resistant to infection.









The percent infection of surviving Ae. aegypti larvae at 7 days post-exposure did

not differ significantly from the percent infection in larvae, pupae, or adults sampled at 2

or 3 weeks post-exposure (Table 4-8, 4-9). Infection rates were low for live pupae and

adults sampled at 3 weeks post-exposure. Of 141 total adults examined, 7 were found

infected. Of the 25 total pupae examined, only one was found infected. Mortality was

high in the first 3 days post-exposure, and again increased after the second week post-

exposure (Figure 4-3). Dead, infected larvae and pupae were recovered 7-14 days post-

exposure. The onset of pupation and adult emergence occurred at the same time for

control and SjHe-treated groups (Figure 4-4 and 4-5). However, groups treated with SjHe

had a higher proportion of adults at 3 weeks post-exposure when compared with

untreated controls, due to the death of larvae and pupae in SjHe-treated groups. There

were more than twice as many adult males as females in control groups at 3 weeks post-

exposure. Sex ratios in groups treated with SjHe were slightly weighted toward females,

but not significantly (df= 4, P = 0.4711, F = 0.99) (Table 4-10).

Food Concentration Bioassays

Increased food availability during exposure to SjHe decreased mortality and

infection in Ae. aegypti larvae. Total mortality increased 1-3 days post-exposure, leveling

off after 3 days post-exposure such that, in most food and dose combinations, 3-day

mortality accounted for 50-90% of total mortality at 7 days post-exposure (Table 4-11).

At two days post-exposure, mortality was significantly affected by both dosage and food

level (df= 6, P = 0.0025, F = 4.63) (Figure 4-6). The relationship between food and

mortality at 7 days post-exposure was significant at the 1 x 103 dosage (df= 3,

P = 0.0145, F = 3.98) (Table 4-12). The effect of food level on infection at seven days

was only statistically analyzed for the 1 x 103 dosage due to high mortality (-100%) in









the other treatments. At 1 x 103 cysts/mL dosage, increased food levels decreased

infection (df= 3, P = 0.0278, F= 5.19) (Table 4-13).

The number of fixed, FITC-labeled cysts ingested by first instar Ae. aegypti

decreased with increasing food availability (df= 2, P = 0.0061, F = 6.31) (Table 4-14).

The number of cysts ingested per insect was not significantly different for 1, 2, or 4 hours

post-exposure (df= 2, P = 0.5719, F = 0.57). However, ingestion rates were highly

variable.

Host Development

Infection with SjHe had no effect on time to pupation for individually-reared Ae.

aegypti. Of the 48 exposed larvae transferred into individual wells, 33 survived to

pupation. The infection rate in these pupae was 63%. Time to pupation was not

significantly delayed in infected individuals when compared with uninfected individuals

(df= 4, P = 0.9010, F = 0.26). Average time to pupation in infected larvae was

9.4 + 1.7 days, while the average time to pupation for control larvae was 8.6 + 1.5 days.











80

70

60

- 50
5o
40
E 40
3o
S30
Q


Storage Time (Weeks)


Figure 4-1. Percent dehiscence of five cyst preparations purified January through April
2005. After purification, cyst preparations were stored at 4C. Cyst
preparations were assayed for dehiscence immediately after purification
(0 weeks) and each week after purification. Cysts were treated with
lepidopteran gut extracts, incubated at room temperature for 30 minutes, then
the percent of filamentous cells released was counted with a hemacytometer to
obtain percent dehiscence. Data provided by V. Lietze.


-4-1/4/2005
S-- 2/9/2005
---- 3/9/2005
---- 3/30/2005
S-4/20/2005








I I II










90
80
1/4/05 Mortality
70 1/4/05 Infection
y = 1.3357x + 14.108 U 2/9/05 Mortality
.60 2 = 0.59 2/9/05 Infection
50 )K 3/9/05 Mortality
S. *0 3/9/05 Infection
o 40. ** + 3/30/05 Mortality
S. 3/30/05 Infection
S30 -- 4/20/05 Mortality
o 4/20/05 Infection
20 -- Linear (Mortality trendline)
y = 0.7356x + 12.615 Linear (Infection trendline)
10
+ R2 = 0.2001

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
Dehiscence (%)



Figure 4-2. Regression of percent corrected mortality and infection on percent dehiscence
of cyst preparation at time of exposure. Each point represents a single
bioassay with one of the five isolates purified from Jaunuary to April 2005.
Groups of 100 first instar Ae. aegypti were exposed for 24 hours to
1 x 104 cysts/mL. Percent mortality was obtained at 7 days post exposure,
using Abbott's correction for control mortality. Percent infection was obtained
by examining a subsample of surviving larvae at 7 days post-exposure.

Table 4-1. Average + SD results of assays with An. quadrimaculatus and Ae. aegypti
7 days after exposure to 1 x 104 cysts/mL. Infection and melanization were
measured in a subsample of surviving larvae 7 days after exposure.
Day 1 Day 7
Dose D 7 Percent Percent
Species .Percent Percent
species (cysts/mL) Percent Percent Infection Melanization
Mortality Mortality
15+30 38+28 0+0 0+0
An. quadrimaculatus Control 5 a (3 36) b (3, 36)
(5) (7) (3, 36) (3,36)
S03 34 25 78 10 69 43 (4, 18 27
(4) (4) 43) (4,43)
4 34+33 72 13 84+20 8+14
(6) (5) (10, 111) (10, 111)
Ae. u,.i Control 12 5+4 0+0 0+0
Control
(5) (6) (3,36) (3,36)
1 1 11 + 13 (3, 44 13
(3) 1 ( 36) (3,36)
1 04 1 ) 57 19 33 30 (6, 57 14
(8) 72) (6,72)
a Number of replicates, each consisting of 100 larvae.
b Total number of individuals examined across all replicates appears in parentheses after
number of replicates.










Table 4-2. Logistic regression of host range bioassay data (proc genmod).
Response Variable df X2 P
Day 1 Mortality Dose (1 x 103 vs 1 x 104) 1 6.1 0.0136
Species (Control) 1 37.1 <0.0001
Species (SjHe) 1 173.2 <0.0001
Day 7 Mortality Dose (1 x 103 vs 1 x 104) 1 60.5 <0.0001
Species (Control) 1 148.5 <0.0001
Species (SjHe) 1 214.7 <0.0001
Percent Infection Dose 1 14.3 0.0002
Species 1 65.9 <0.0001
Percent
PerenDose 1 0.16 0.6872
Melanization
Species 1 49.27 <0.0001
Infection 1 0.55 0.4596

Table 4-3. Average SD corrected percent mortality at 7 days post-exposure for four
instars ofAe. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidium.
7-Day Mortality
Dosage (cysts/mL)
Instar 1 x 103 1 x 104 1 x10 1 x 106
1 7(1)a 23 23 (4) 83 24 (3) nt
2 1 (1) 5 4 (3) 19 22 (3) nt
3 2 (1) 3 (1) 4 5 (4) 12 (1)
4 ntb nt 0 (1) 0 (3)
a Number of replicates appear in parentheses. Each replicate consisted of 100 larvae.
Abbott's correction for control mortality was used.
b Not tested

Table 4-4. Average SD corrected percent infection of surviving larvae at 7 days post-
exposure for different instars of Ae. aegypti at five dosages of Helicosporidia.
Percent Infection
Dose (cysts/mL)
Instar 1 x 103 1 x 104 1 x 105 1 x 106
1 25(1,12)' 42 30 (4, 48) 75 25 (3, 17) nt
2 0(1,12) 6 10(3, 36) 6 5 (3, 36) nt
3 0(1,12) 0(1, 12) 2 4 (4,48) 25(1, 12)
4 ntb nt 8 (1, 12) 14 17 (3, 36)
a The number of replicates appears in parentheses, followed by the total number of larvae
examined across all replicates. Each replicate consisted of 100 larvae.
b Not tested









Table 4-5. Logistic regression of age susceptibility by instar (proc genmod).
Response Variable df X2 P
Day 7 Mortality Instar (1 vs 2) 1 204.88 <0.0001
Instar (1 vs 3) 1 254.15 <0.0001
Instar (2 vs 3) 1 36.41 <0.0001
Percent Infection Instar (1 vs 2) 1 9.45 0.0021
Instar (1 vs 3) 1 21.18 <0.0001
Instar (2 vs 3) 1 9.60 0.0019

Table 4-6. Mean SD percent mortality and infection in 2, 12, and 24-hour old
Ae. aegypti after exposure to SjHe and at 5 x 103 and 1 x 104 cysts/mL.
Dose Age Day 3 Day 7 Percent
(cysts/mL) (hours post- N' Percent Percent Iec b
(cysts/mL) c c Infection
hatch) mortality mortality
5 x 103 2 3 35 26 49 34 40 13 (36)


12
24
2
12
24


9 14
2+3
63 9
29 33
28 + 43


22 37
2+3
80 + 15
39 43
27 + 45


10 21 (48)
000(36)
25 22 (26)
29 34 (39)
19 + 34 (36)


SNumber of replicates, consisting of 100 larvae each.
b Total number of larvae examined across all replicates appears in parentheses.
c Abbott's correction for control mortality was used.

Table 4-7. Logistic regression ofAe. aegypti bioassay data for age and dose.


Response
Day 3 Mortality




Day 7 Mortality




Percent Infection


Variable
Dose
Age (2h vs 12h)
Age (2h vs 24h)
Age (12h vs 24h)
Dose
Age (2h vs 12h)
Age (2h vs 24h)
Age (12h vs 24h)
Dose
Age (2h vs 12h)
Age (2h vs 24h)
Age (12h vs 24h)


2

87.7
29.2
140.0
39.1
61.1
17.6
247.6
131.8
2.24
2.8
17.4
6.06


P
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
<0.0001
0.1346
0.0930
<0.0001
0.0138


1 x 104










Table 4-8. Mean SD infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure ofAe. aegypti
exposed as first instars to four dosages of SjHe.
Mean Percent Infection


Week Post-
Exposure
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3


Larvae

4 6(24)a
0(12)
11 + 16(21)
14 + 13 (36)
0(9)
12 7 (37)
46 41 (24)
27 (12)
58 + 59 (13)
58 + 30 (36)
33(9)
np


Pupae
b
np

17 24 (6)
np
0(3)
0(11)
np
0(1)
0 + 0 (4)
np
0(3)
np


Adults

np
0(12)
0(12)
np
0(12)
0 0 (33)
np
0(12)
4 6 (24)
np
0(9)
33 42 (27)


a Three replicates were conduced at 1 and 3 weeks, one replicate at 2 weeks, total number
of individuals examined across all replicates appears in parentheses.
b Not present.

Table 4-9. Logistic regression of percent infection at 1, 2, and 3 weeks post-exposure.
Variable df X2 P
Week (1 vs 2) 1 0.00 0.9998
Week(l vs 3) 1 1.31 0.2519
Week (2 vs 3) 1 0.00 0.9998


Dose
(cysts/mL)
5 x 102



1 x 103



5 x 103



1 x 104











100
90 C-- control
90 A 1000
80 -__________
8 -- 10000
70
& 60
*# 50 _____ r_ _
50
1 40
0


20
10


0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21

Time Post-Exposure (days)



Figure 4-3. Percent mortality over time of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to two dosages
of SjHe. Two replicates were conducted.


100
90
S80
- 70
60
. 50
. 40
. 30
S20
10
0


E Adults
a Pupae
* Larvae


. . .
. .. .
. . . .
. .. . .








7 9 11 13 15 17 19


Time Post-Exposure (Days)



Figure 4-4. Average control proportion of larvae, pupae, and adults of surviving
Ae. aegypti 1-3 weeks post-exposure.











IUU
90
80 80
S70
'60 o Adults
.E 50 a Pupae
._ 40 Larvae
30
S20
10

7 9 11 13 15 17 19
Time Post-Exposure (Days)



Figure 4-5. Average proportion of larvae, pupae, and adults of surviving Ae. aegypti at 1-
3 weeks post exposure to 1 x 104 cysts/mL of SjHe.

Table 4-10. Mean SD adult male:female ratio ofAe. aegypti at 3 weeks post-exposure
to 2 dosages of SjHe.
Dosage (cysts/mL) Mean M:F Ratio"
0 2.1 0.9a
1 x 103 2.3 + 1.5a
1 x 104 0.8 0.2a
a Means followed by different letters were significantly different (proc glm, Ismeans; P <
0.05)










Table 4-11. Corrected percent mortality over time ofAe. aegypti at three dosages of SjHe
and four food levels
Percent Mortality
Days post exposure
Dosage Food 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
(cysts/mL)
1 x 103 0.05 4 0.2a 22 6 35 25 43 18 51 27 53 30 54 36
0.1 3 3 12 17 14 20 14 22 22 31 26 37 30 30
0.2 3+2 3+2 3+5 6+5 11+10 9+9 21+22
0.4 2+3 2+3 6+9 6+9 6+9 6+9 6+9
1 x 104 0.05 12 5 96 6 100 + 0 100 + 0 100 + 0 100 + 0 100 + 0
0.1 22+6 81+10 87+5 92+0 93+2 96+4 98+2
0.2 7+6 53+9 67+11 84 3 84 3 92 7 95 +6
0.4 10+14 23+3 40+9 54 24 57 32 62+30 72 23
1 x 105 0.05 37 27 100 +0 100 +0 100 +0 100 +0 100 +0 100 0
0.1 35+21 100+0 100+0 100+0 100+0 100+0 100+0
0.2 20 1 96 6 98 3 100 +0 100 +0 100 +0 100 0
0.4 16 6 92 +0 94 +3 94 3 95 5 95 6 97 + 5
a Three replicates were performed, Abbott's correction for control mortality was used







49



100 ___
d d d dd
90 -
80

70
60
6b 0 1.00E+03
50 El 1.00E+04
ab
40 0 1.00E+05
E ab a
30
20 -

10 a
10


0.05 0.1 0.2 0.4
Food (mg/ml)


Figure 4-6. Percent mortality at 2 days post-exposure of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to
three dosages of Helicosporidia and four food levels. Three replicates were
performed. Means followed by different letters were statistically different
(proc glm, Ismeans; P < 0.05). Abbott's correction for control mortality was
used.

Table 4-12. Mean ( SD) corrected percent mortality in Aedes aegypti 7 days after
exposure to SjHe at four different food levels and three dosages of
helicosporidia.
7-day Percent Mortality
Food (mg/mL)

Dosage (cysts/mL) 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.4
1 x 103 43 36a ab 27 25ab 22 19ab 3 6b
1 x 104 93 14a 91 + 16a 77 39a 54 40a
1 x 105 100 + Oa 100 + Oa 99 2a 86 23a
a Three replicates were performed, consisting of 25 larvae each, Abbott's correction for
control mortality was used.
b Means followed by different letters are statistically different within each dose
(proc glm, Ismeans; P < 0.05).









Table 4-13. Mean ( SD) infection rates in surviving Ae. aegypti 7 days after exposure to
three dosages of SjHe at four different food levels. Three replicates were
performed. The total number of individuals examined across all replicates
appears in parentheses. Means followed by different letters were statistically
different (proc glm, Ismeans; P < 0.05).
Percent Infection
Food (mg/mL)
Dosage (cysts/mL) 0.05 0.1 0.2 0.4
1 x 103 72 25a(24) ab 52 25ab (34) 34+8bc(41) 14 10c(36)
1 x 104 100 +0(2) 83 24 (5) 67 37 (18)
1 105 100 (1) 0 (2)
a Three replicates were performed, consisting of 25 larvae each, Abbott's correction for
control mortality was used.
b Means followed by different letters are statistically different within each dose
(proc glm, Ismeans; P < 0.05).

Table 4-14. Mean (+ SD) fixed, FITC-labeled cysts ingested per Ae. aegypti larva
exposed to 1 x 105 cysts/mL at three food levels. Means followed by different
letters were statistically different (proc glm, Ismeans; P < 0.05).
Food (mg/mL) Cysts per insect
0.1 4.2 4.4 x 103a
0.2 3.1 3.0 x 103ab
0.4 2.0 + 2.0 x 103b














CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

Highly variable bioassay data seem to be the norm with many Helicosporidium

isolates. Fukuda et al. (1976) found that infection rates of An. quadrimaculatus exposed

to a mosquito isolate varied between 17 and 93% among four replicates. Blaske and

Boucias (2004) found that oral challenge of three noctuid species with an isolate of

Helicosporidium from an aquatic weevil produced either no infection or only 50%

infection. However, injection of the noctuids with Helicosporidium consistently resulted

in 100% infection. Initial infection events thus may be the source of the variability in

bioassay data. In our study, cyst viability has also been implicated to play a role in the

variable bioassay results produced with different cyst preparations.

Previous studies examining cyst viability have used a standardized mosquito

bioassay. Hembree (1981), for example, exposed groups of 100 first instar 24-hour old

Ae. aegypti to a range of dosages of Helicosporidium after storage or treatment with

various environmental factors, measuring infection rate as the response variable. Avery

and Undeen (1987b), on the other hand, used groups of 150 first instar An.

quadrimaculatus exposed to a range of dosages of Helicosporidium for 24 hours,

measuring 72-hour mortality as the response variable. In vitro methods for assessing cyst

viability have not been tested before. Since dehiscence is necessary to initiate infection

and directly related to viability, dehiscence rate is a logical choice for assessing cyst

viability. Variation in dehiscence rate of SjHe between cyst preparations and decline of

dehiscence rates during storage may account for the high variability in the bioassay data.









However, the relationship between dehiscence and mortality and infection was not very

strong, indicating that in vitro dehiscence may not be the best indicator of cyst viability.

Also, there may be factors other than cyst viability influencing variation in the bioassay

data.

Helicosporidium has a wide host range. Natural infections have occurred in mites,

cladocerans, Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Oligochaeta, and parasitic

trematodes. Helicosporidium is not highly host-specific. For example, Kellen and

Lindegren (1973) transmitted a Helicosporidium isolate obtained from Carpophilus

mutilatus Erichson to 9 other species of Coleoptera, 6 species of Lepidoptera, 3 species of

mites, and 1 species of Diptera. There are only five mosquito host records for

Helicosporidium, but Helicosporidium from mosquitoes has been transmitted to 25 other

species of mosquitoes, three species of Coleoptera, and three species of Lepidoptera.

Previous SjHe host range results indicated that Ae. aegypti was a less suitable host

than An. quadrimaculatus (Conklin et al. 2005). For example, in previous studies, SjHe

infection rates were below 20% for first instar Ae. aegypti treated with 1 x 105 cysts/mL.

In our study, the infection rate of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to 1 x 105 cysts/mL was

75 25%. Also, in previous studies, mortality of first instar Ae. aegypti exposed to

1 x 105 cysts/mL SjHe was less than 10%. In our study, mortality of first instarAe.

aegypti exposed to 1 x 105 cysts/mL was 83 24%. In addition, Conklin et al. (2005)

reported that the SjHe isolate did not cause melanization in mosquito hosts, whereas the

isolate from an aquatic weevil (CsHe) did cause melanization. In our study, melanization

was more prevalent in Ae. aegypti than An. quadrimaculatus, possibly indicating that Ae.

aegypti are still less suitable hosts for Helicosporidium than An. quadrimaculatus. It is









difficult to say what might have caused these differences. Isolated from a blackfly in

2003, SjHe has been continuously amplified in lepidopteran hosts. The Helicosporidial

cells used by Conklin et al. (2005) had been amplified in lepidopterans for less than a

year, but the Helicosporidial cells used in our study had been in culture in H. zea for 1-2

years. Continued selection by amplification in a heterologous host may have caused a

phenotypic change in the isolate over time. Avery and Undeen (1987b) described changes

in cyst diameter of a pond-water isolate after one passage through a lepidopteran host.

Hembree (1981), likewise, amplified a mosquito isolate in S. exigua and reported a loss

of infectivity after one passage through this heterologous host. Rather than exhibiting a

decrease in infectivity, the SjHe isolate appears to have increased infectivity toward

Ae. aegypti. There is also a possibility that the SjHe isolate was contaminated with the

weevil isolate (CsHe) used by Conklin et al. (2005).

Age-dependent resistance to pathogens is common in insects as well as many other

organisms. There are several possible reasons for decreased susceptibility due to age. Age

may alter ingestion or feeding as the larvae become satiated and cease feeding or begin

molting into the next instar. In this study, 24-hour-old first instar larvae molted into the

second instar during the exposure period, possibly resulting in reduced ingestion. Older

larvae also have had time to establish a compliment of immune peptides and phagocytic

hemocytes that may kill invasive microorganisms. In mosquito larvae, the peritrophic

matrix may also be a key to pathogen resistance. Mosquito larvae have a highly

structured peritrophic matrix secreted by a ring of cells in the cardia and extending

through the entire midgut. The peritrophic matrix is already present in neonate

Ae. aegypti, but it is thinner, without the strengthening fibers present in the peritrophic









matrix of later instars. Thickening of the peritrophic matrix occurs as the larvae age and

feed (Richards and Richards 1971).

Decreasing susceptibility with age has been reported for three other

Helicosporidium isolates. Fukuda et al. (1976) reported a 3-fold reduction in infection

rate from larvae 1 to 3 days old. Hembree (1981) found that both instar and age during

the first instar had an effect on infectivity and mortality. In Hembree's (1981) study, there

was a 3-fold difference in IC5o between first and second instars ofAe. aegypti. Seif and

Rifaat (2001) reported that the IC50 of second instar Cx. pipiens was only 1.2 times more

than the first instars. In our study, there was an 8 to 13-fold difference in infection rate

between the first and second instars ofAe. aegypti. The results for the effect of age within

the first instar in this study were similar to those of Hembree (1981), who found a 2-fold

difference in infection rate of 2 and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti at 5 x 102 cysts/mL.

However, the decrease in susceptibility between 2 and 24-hour old Ae. aegypti in our

study was more pronounced, decreasing from 40 to 0% from 2 to 24-hours of age at a

dosage of 5 x 103 cysts/mL. Increasing the dosage of SjHe minimized the effect of first

instar age on susceptibility, indicating that the decrease in susceptibility due to age was

not complete.

Infection with Helicosporidium reaches its peak just after 7 days post-exposure.

Fukuda et al. (1976) reported that infection could be detected at 4 days post-exposure and

that the maximum number of infected mosquitoes was collected 9-10 days post-exposure.

Hembree (1981) found that virtually all infections could be detected 4 days after

infection, and that 10-14 day-old larvae were optimum for cyst purification. Seif and

Rifaat (2001) reported 5 days post-exposure for the first detectable infections, and that









the maximum number of infected larvae was collected 8-10 days post-exposure. All of

the above authors noted that mortality occurred in the late fourth instar, pupae, and

adults. The pathological effects of Helicosporidium infection manifest themselves at the

larval-pupal interface in lepidopteran hosts also. Blaske and Boucias (2004) found that

infected noctuids successfully pupated, but most died as pupae. A small number of

infected larvae emerged as infected adults. Infected noctuiid adults and pupae were often

malformed. In bioassays with SjHe, percent infection did not change significantly after

1 week post-exposure, and most infected insects died late in the fourth instar, at the

larval-pupal interface. No malformation of pupae or adults was observed in SjHe-treated

Ae. aegypti. Sex-ratio in infected noctuiids was not different from controls (Blaske and

Boucias 2004). Sex ratio of exposed Ae. aegypti also did not differ from controls. The

minor female-bias in the sex ratio ofAe. aegypti exposed to SjHe is due to the high

mortality in these groups.

Infected larvae that successfully pupated and emerged as adults were rare in this

study. Horizontal transmission appears to be the most likely form of transmission for

Helicosporidium. Blaske and Boucias (2004) found that Helicosporidium infection could

be vertically transmitted by infected noctuiid adults. However, the infection rate in the

offspring was very low, and the ovarian tissue itself was not found to be infected. The

role of vertical transmission in mosquitoes is unknown. The only study of vertical

transmission in mosquitoes was by Fukuda et al. (1976), which examined 2060 larvae

from 17 egg rafts of infected Cx. salinarius, but found no infection. Natural horizontal

transmission of Helicosporidium from infected individuals to uninfected individuals of

the same species has not yet been documented with any host species. However, Hembree









(1981) infected Toxorhynchites splendens (Wied.) by feeding the predatory larvae

Helicosporidium-infected Cx. pipiens. Once cysts are produced in the host, they must be

released into the environment in order to be ingested by the next host, but no mechanism

of cyst release has been found (Blaske-Lietze et al. in press).

While death of infected larvae during the fourth instar appears to be common for

Helicosporidium infections, early mortality accounted for most of the total mortality at

7 days post exposure. High early mortality due to exposure to SjHe in this study and also

observed by Conklin et al. (2005) has only been reported for one other isolate of

Helicosporidium. Avery and Undeen (1987b) found that a pond water isolate of

Helicosporidium caused high mortality in first instar larvae at 72-hours post exposure.

The pond water isolate also caused melanization in mosquitoes. Since early mortality

causes the death of the host before cyst production, terminating the infection cycle, the

authors suggested that mosquitoes were not natural hosts of the pond water isolate.

Increasing the food during exposure to SjHe decreased the amount of cysts

ingested, as indicated with fixed, FITC-labeled cysts. However, decreased ingestion may

not completely explain decreased infection. In addition to reduced ingestion, plant

chemicals present in the mosquito diet may have damaged the ingested helicosporidial

cells. Alfalfa, a component of the larval food, produces isolfavonoid phytoalexins,

defensive compounds that exhibit antimicrobial activity in vitro (He and Dixon 2000).

Differences in food composition may account for variation in bioassay results from

previous studies. For example, Hembree (1981) used a high-protein mixture of yeast,

liver powder, and hog chow as larval food, while Fukuda et al. (1976) used rabbit chow,

and Seif and Rifaat (2001) used powdered tropical fish food.









In our study, there was no effect of infection on development. However, there are

other reports that Helicosporidium can influence development in other hosts. For

example, Conklin et al. (2005) found that the mean head capsule measurements of

Ae. aegypti exposed to SjHe and reared in groups were smaller than the control larvae.

However, this approach failed to take into account the effect of group size on host

development. Individual rearing eliminates this larval density factor, providing each larva

with nearly ideal conditions for growth. It is possible that, in groups, larval density and

competition between larvae for food increases the cost of infection, thus increasing the

effect of infection on development. In support of this, Bedhomme et al. (1999) found that

Ae. aegypti infected with a microsporidian developed more slowly when placed in groups

than individually-reared larvae.

Utilization of the time to pupation as a measurement of development may not have

been adequate. Blaske and Boucias (2004) reported that the effect of infection on noctuid

development varied by species and measurement of development. Pupal weight, time to

pupation, and time to eclosion each provided a different profile of the effect of

Helicosporidium infection on development. Also, analysis of time to pupation in SjHe-

infected Ae. aegypti would have been improved by recording pupation more than once

every 24 hours. With such a short larval period, the difference in development between

infected and control mosquitoes may have been less than 1 day. However, Hembree

(1981) reported that pupation was delayed 1-2 days in infected Ae. aegypti and pupation

was lengthened. Different rearing conditions may have caused slower development in his

infected larvae. The length of time to development (pupation or adulthood) can also have

an effect on a pathogen's ability to influence host development. The length of the larval









period of Ae. aegypti at 26 C is 7-10 days, while the length of the larval period of the

weevil D. abbreviatus is 100 days or more (Conklin et al. 2005), providing the pathogen

a greater opportunity to influence the development of the host. Accordingly, there was a

pronounced effect on host development in D. abbreviatus treated with SjHe.

While Ae. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus support vegetative growth of SjHe,

several aspects of the interaction between SjHe and mosquitoes indicate that host

suitability is low for these species. The IC5o for first-instar An. quadrimaculatus was

between 1 x 104 and 1 x 105 cysts/mL (Conklin et al. 2005), and forAe. aegypti the IC50

of first-instars was also in the range of 1 x 104 cysts/mL. The dose-response of two

culicid isolates have been examined using similar methods, with much lower ICso's than

this study. Hembree (1981) found that the IC5o of first instarAe. aegypti exposed to a

mosquito isolate from Thailand was approximately 1 x 103 cysts/mL. Seif and Rifaat

(2001) found that for first instar Cx. pipiens exposed to another mosquito isolate, the IC5o

was 1.9 x 102 cysts/mL. High initial mortality ofAe. aegypti and An. quadrimaculatus

exposed to SjHe limited the number of infected, cyst-producing larvae recovered later.

Cyst production after death also does not appear to occur in other hosts of

Helicosporidium. Blaske-Lietze et al. (in press) have found that in H. zea, vegetative

reproduction halts after the host's death, and further cyst differentiation does not occur in

the dead host. This interaction between a pathogen and the non-host species did not

benefit either the host or the pathogen. The host had an acute reaction, causing death and

shutting down pathogen reproduction, while the pathogen, having prematurely killed its

host, was unable to complete its life cycle.






59


The host range of a single Helicosporidium isolate may be deceptively broad,

where many species can be infected, but only a few support a high level of replication

and transmission, representing true host species. The sensitivity of the bioassay system of

SjHe and mosquitoes to cyst viability, minor changes in host age, and food availability

also indicate a poorly adapted host-pathogen interaction.















APPENDIX A
MEASUREMENT DATA


Table A-1. Compiled cyst measurements.
References Size (unm) Stain Fixation Host
Keilin 1921 5 6 None None Dasyhelea obscura
Iron- Camoy's fluid,
Weiser 1970 3 4.5 haematoxylin paraffin Hepialis pallens
Schaudinn's
Iron- fluid + 1%
Weiser 1970 4.5 5 haematoxylin HAc Dasyhelea obscura
Cx. quinquefasciatus;
Hembree 1979 5.5 Giemsa Methanol Ae. u, --' pti
Cx. quinquefasciatus;
Hembree 1979 5.9 None None Ae. u, --'/i
Kellen & Lindegren Paramyelois
1974 5.03 + 0.28 Giemsa Methanol transitella
Kellen & Lindegren Paramyelois
1974 5.59 + 0.26 None None transitella
Sayre & Clark 1978 5.6 + 0.052 Giemsa None Daphnia magna
Pekkarinen 1993 5.31 + 0.04 None Glutaraldehyde Bucephalid trematode
Pekkarinen 1993 4.99 + 0.04 Stained None Bucephalid trematode
Pekkarinen 1993 4.91 + 0.05 Stained None Bucephalid trematode
Pekkarinen 1993 4.92 + 0.06 Stained None Bucephalid trematode
Pekkarinen 1993 3.71 -5.14 TEM TEM Bucephalid trematode
6.5 + 0.2 x
Boucias et al. 2001 5.9 0.3 None None Simulium jonesi
6.2 + 0.3 x
Boucias et al. 2001 5.9 + 0.1 None None Helicoverpa zea
Avery & Undeen
1987a 7.19 + 0.15 Giemsa None Collembolan
Avery & Undeen
1987a 5.58 + 0.03 None None Helicoverpa zea
Avery & Undeen
1987b 8.91 + 0.12 None None Collembolan









Table A-2. Compiled filamentous cell measurements
Authors Size ([tm) Stain Mount Host
Keilin 1921 60 65 x 1 None None Dasyhelea obscure
Kellen & Lindegren
1974 50.4 + 3.32 None Saline Paramyelois transitella
Sayre & Clark 1978 61.7 2.44 Giemsa None Daphnia magna
37 4.3 x
Boucias et al. 2001 0.9 + 0.13 None None Simulium jonesi














APPENDIX B
CONSTRUCTION OF MOSQUITO BREEDERS

When rearing mosquitoes to adulthood, it becomes necessary to find a way to have

both water for the larvae and pupae and space for the adults to be collected after

emergence. Placing the larval rearing pan into a large screen cage is one simple way to

address this problem. However, screen cages are bulky and difficult to sterilize, and

collecting adults from such a large space can be a challenge. Many "mosquito breeder"

products that address this problem are available through mail order, but these usually cost

$10-15 each. A mosquito breeder has a relatively simple design, however, and can be

constructed from materials that most laboratories have on hand. In this series of

experiments, mosquito breeders were constructed from 16 oz clear, plastic food

containers with tight-fitting lids ("Del-Pak" by Reynolds Grant Park, IL). These

containers are light, durable, dishwasher-safe, stackable, water-tight, easy to cut with a

razorblade, and recyclable. The following is a protocol for constructing mosquito

breeders.

Materials

* Three 16 oz plastic tubs
* Two lids for tubs
* One 5x5 in piece of green tulle
* Hot glue gun and glue sticks
* Razorblade
* Scissors
Procedure

1. Using the razorblade, make an X in the middle of one of the lids. Pop this out and
fold back the flaps. Cut one of the flaps off to facilitate movement of adults out of
bottom chamber.









2. Cut out the middle of the other lid, leaving only the lip that attaches to the
container. Do this by making a slit with the razorblade, then finishing cutting with
the scissors.

3. Heat up the hot glue gun and glue the two lids together top to top. Run a bead of
glue all the way around the outside edges.

4. Cut the bottoms off of two of the plastic tubs using the razorblade.

5. Place one of the bottomless tubs upside down and place the tulle on top of the
opening.

6. Press the other bottomless tub upside down on top of the other tub, securing the
tulle between the two tubs.

7. Assemble the finished mosquito breeder by snapping the remaining tub and the
tulle part into the two sides of the lid (Figure B-l).

Each finished mosquito breeder can hold about 500 mL of water in the bottom

container. A cotton ball soaked in sugar solution can be placed on top of the tulle screen

to provide food for the adults. Collecting adults from the container is accomplished by

placing a lid with a hole punched in the middle over the top of the screening. Introduce a

tube through the hole and pump CO2 into the container for approximately 1 min, or until

all mosquitoes are knocked down. The mosquitoes can be collected with forceps. Not all

adult mosquitoes will fly up into the upper part of the breeder, so the lid will have to be

removed to collect those that remain below. The approximate cost of each mosquito

breeder constructed as above is 41 cents.































Figure B-1. Finished mosquito breeder















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Tracy Conklin was born on April 17, 1982 in West Palm Beach, Florida. As an

only child, she entertained herself by catching insects, lizards, and fish in her subtropical

backyard. She examined her first mosquito larva under her mother's microscope at 8

years old. Little did she know that she would spend 3 years of her life doing the same in

college. After spending 2 years of her undergraduate career studying British literature,

Tracy gave in to her love for insects and changed her major to entomology. As an

undergraduate, she worked for Dr. Drion Boucias in the insect pathology laboratory, and

after graduating, decided to continue looking at mosquitoes under the microscope.