Mosquito-bacteria interactions during larval development trigger metabolic changes with carry-over effects on adult fitness

Émilie Giraud, Hugo Varet, Rachel Legendre, Odile Sismeiro, Fabien Aubry, Stéphanie Dabo, Laura B. Dickson, Claire Valiente Moro, Louis Lambrechts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In animals with distinct life stages such as holometabolous insects, adult phenotypic variation is often shaped by the environment of immature stages, including their interactions with microbes colonizing larval habitats. Such carry-over effects were previously observed for several adult traits of the mosquito Aedes aegypti after larval exposure to different bacteria, but the mechanistic underpinnings are unknown. Here, we investigated the molecular changes triggered by gnotobiotic larval exposure to different bacteria in Ae. aegypti. We initially screened a panel of 16 bacterial isolates from natural mosquito breeding sites to determine their ability to influence adult life-history traits. We subsequently focused on four bacterial isolates (belonging to Flavobacterium, Lysobacter, Paenibacillus, and Enterobacteriaceae) with significant carry-over effects on adult survival and found that they were associated with distinct transcriptomic profiles throughout mosquito development. Moreover, we detected carry-over effects at the level of gene expression for the Flavobacterium and Paenibacillus isolates. The most prominent transcriptomic changes in gnotobiotic larvae reflected a profound remodelling of lipid metabolism, which translated into phenotypic differences in lipid storage and starvation resistance at the adult stage. Together, our findings indicate that larval exposure to environmental bacteria trigger substantial physiological changes that impact adult fitness, uncovering a possible mechanism underlying carry-over effects of mosquito-bacteria interactions during larval development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1444-1460
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Aedes aegypti
  • gnotobiotic
  • microbiota
  • transcriptome
  • triglyceride
  • vector competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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