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Open AccessArticle

Aquatic Hemiptera in Southwest Cameroon: Biodiversity of Potential Reservoirs of Mycobacterium ulcerans and Multiple Wolbachia Sequence Types Revealed by Metagenomics

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Laboratory for Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea, Cameroon
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Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Buea, PO Box 63, Buea, Cameroon
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Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK
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Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, UK
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School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 5UG, UK
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Disease Control Department, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120225
Received: 27 October 2019 / Accepted: 19 October 2019 / Published: 25 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Symbiosis)
Buruli ulcer (BU), caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, is a neglected tropical disease associated with freshwater habitats. A variety of limnic organisms harbor this pathogen, including aquatic bugs (Hemiptera: Heteroptera), which have been hypothesized to be epidemiologically important reservoirs. Aquatic Hemiptera exhibit high levels of diversity in the tropics, but species identification remains challenging. In this study, we collected aquatic bugs from emerging foci of BU in the Southwest Region of Cameroon, which were identified using morphological and molecular methods. The bugs were screened for mycobacterial DNA and a selection of 20 mycobacteria-positive specimens from the families Gerridae and Veliidae were subjected to next-generation sequencing. Only one individual revealed putative M. ulcerans DNA, but all specimens contained sequences from the widespread alpha-proteobacterial symbiont, Wolbachia. Phylogenetic analysis placed the Wolbachia sequences into supergroups A, B, and F. Circularized mitogenomes were obtained for seven gerrids and two veliids, the first from these families for the African continent. This study suggests that aquatic Hemiptera may have a minor role (if any) in the spread of BU in Southwest Cameroon. Our metagenomic analysis provides new insights into the incursion of Wolbachia into aquatic environments and generated valuable resources to aid molecular taxonomic studies of aquatic Hemiptera.
Keywords: Buruli ulcer; symbiosis; Limnogonus; pond skater; riffle bug; Rhagovelia; Metrocoris; Trepobates Buruli ulcer; symbiosis; Limnogonus; pond skater; riffle bug; Rhagovelia; Metrocoris; Trepobates
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MDPI and ACS Style

Esemu, S.N.; Dong, X.; Kfusi, A.J.; Hartley, C.S.; Ndip, R.N.; Ndip, L.M.; Darby, A.C.; Post, R.J.; Makepeace, B.L. Aquatic Hemiptera in Southwest Cameroon: Biodiversity of Potential Reservoirs of Mycobacterium ulcerans and Multiple Wolbachia Sequence Types Revealed by Metagenomics. Diversity 2019, 11, 225.

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