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A Novel Allele Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction (AS-PCR) Assay to Detect the V1016G Knockdown Resistance Mutation Confirms Its Widespread Presence in Aedes albopictus Populations from Italy

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Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Malattie Infettive, Università Sapienza, 00185 Rome, Italy
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Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie ‘C. Darwin’, Università Sapienza, 00185 Rome, Italy
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Research and Innovation Centre, Department of Biodiversity and Molecular Ecology, Fondazione Edmund Mach, San Michele all’Adige, 38098 Trento, Italy
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Section of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology, MUSE-Science Museum, 38098 Trento, Italy
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Centro Agricoltura Ambiente “G. Nicoli”, 40014 Crevalcore, Italy
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Entostudio snc, 35020 Padua, Italy
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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana “M. Aleandri”, 00178 Rome, Italy
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Global Health and Tropical Medicine, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 1349-008 Lisboa, Portugal
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2021, 12(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010079
Received: 19 December 2020 / Revised: 14 January 2021 / Accepted: 15 January 2021 / Published: 17 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
The Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is an invasive species which has become a worldwide public health concern due to its colonization of all continents (except Antarctica), its aggressive biting behavior and its capacity to transmit potentially deadly human viruses, such as Dengue and Chikungunya. Insecticides currently represent the most commonly used weapon to control epidemics of mosquito-borne viruses, but their effectiveness is threatened by the fast and worldwide spread of resistant mosquito vector populations. Molecular approaches able to easily detect mosquito genetic traits associated with insecticide resistance are among the key tools to counteract this phenomenon. We developed and tested a method that makes it possible to detect the presence in Aedes albopictus of a specific genetic trait (the so-called knock-down resistance (kdr) mutation) associated with resistance to pyrethroids, the most commonly used insecticidal class. We tested this approach on mosquitoes sampled across Italy and show that the kdr mutation is widespread in the country and reaches worrying frequencies (up to 45%) in coastal areas where pyrethroids are widely exploited to reduce mosquito nuisance. These results should serve as a warning bell and encourage further studies to inform insecticide management policies with the aim of maintaining the effectiveness of pyrethroids in the long term.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based genotyping of mutations in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (vssc) associated with resistance to pyrethroid insecticides is widely used and represents a potential early warning and monitoring system for insecticide resistance arising in mosquito populations, which are vectors of different human pathogens. In the secondary vector Aedes albopictus—an Asian species that has invaded and colonized the whole world, including temperate regions—sequencing of domain II of the vssc gene is still needed to detect the V1016G mutation associated with pyrethroid resistance. In this study we developed and tested a novel allele-specific PCR (AS-PCR) assay to genotype the V1016G mutation in this species and applied it to the analysis of wild populations from Italy. The results confirm the high accuracy of the novel AS-PCR and highlight frequencies of the V1016G allele as >5% in most sampling sites, with peaks of 20–45% in coastal touristic sites where pyrethroid treatments are extensively implemented, mostly for mosquito nuisance reduction. The high frequency of this mutation observed in Italian Ae. albopictus populations should serve as a warning bell, advocating for increased monitoring and management of a phenomenon which risks neutralizing the only weapon today available to counteract (risks of) arbovirus outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aedes albopictus; insecticide resistance; integrated vector management; vector control; kdr genotyping; pyrethroid resistance Aedes albopictus; insecticide resistance; integrated vector management; vector control; kdr genotyping; pyrethroid resistance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pichler, V.; Mancini, E.; Micocci, M.; Calzetta, M.; Arnoldi, D.; Rizzoli, A.; Lencioni, V.; Paoli, F.; Bellini, R.; Veronesi, R.; Martini, S.; Drago, A.; De Liberato, C.; Ermenegildi, A.; Pinto, J.; della Torre, A.; Caputo, B. A Novel Allele Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction (AS-PCR) Assay to Detect the V1016G Knockdown Resistance Mutation Confirms Its Widespread Presence in Aedes albopictus Populations from Italy. Insects 2021, 12, 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010079

AMA Style

Pichler V, Mancini E, Micocci M, Calzetta M, Arnoldi D, Rizzoli A, Lencioni V, Paoli F, Bellini R, Veronesi R, Martini S, Drago A, De Liberato C, Ermenegildi A, Pinto J, della Torre A, Caputo B. A Novel Allele Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction (AS-PCR) Assay to Detect the V1016G Knockdown Resistance Mutation Confirms Its Widespread Presence in Aedes albopictus Populations from Italy. Insects. 2021; 12(1):79. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010079

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pichler, Verena; Mancini, Emiliano; Micocci, Martina; Calzetta, Maria; Arnoldi, Daniele; Rizzoli, Annapaola; Lencioni, Valeria; Paoli, Francesca; Bellini, Romeo; Veronesi, Rodolfo; Martini, Simone; Drago, Andrea; De Liberato, Claudio; Ermenegildi, Arianna; Pinto, Joao; della Torre, Alessandra; Caputo, Beniamino. 2021. "A Novel Allele Specific Polymerase Chain Reaction (AS-PCR) Assay to Detect the V1016G Knockdown Resistance Mutation Confirms Its Widespread Presence in Aedes albopictus Populations from Italy" Insects 12, no. 1: 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12010079

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