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Open AccessArticle

Isolation of Beauveria bassiana from the Chagas Disease Vector Triatoma infestans in the Gran Chaco Region of Argentina: Assessment of Gene Expression during Host–Pathogen Interaction

1
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Av. Bolivia 5150, Salta 4400, Argentina
2
Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquímicas de La Plata (INIBIOLP), CCT La Plata Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)—Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), calles 60 y 120, La Plata 1900, Argentina
3
Ministerio de Salud Pública de la Provincia de Salta, Salta 4400, Argentina
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Fungi 2020, 6(4), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof6040219
Received: 29 August 2020 / Revised: 7 October 2020 / Accepted: 9 October 2020 / Published: 12 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Pathogen Interactions: Insects vs Fungi)
A native strain of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Bb-C001) was isolated from a naturally infected Triatoma infestans, Klug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) adult cadaver in the Gran Chaco region, Salta province, Argentina. The isolate was both phenotypic and molecularly characterized in a context of fungus-insect interaction, by measuring the expression pattern of toxin genes during infection and immune response of T. infestans. The commercial strain GHA of B. bassiana, which was previously used in field interventions to control these vectors, was used as reference in this study. The phylogenetic trees based on both ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1-α) indicated that Bb-C001 fits into a B. bassiana cluster, and the sequence-characterized amplified regions (SCAR) showed that Bb-C001 is different from the GHA strain. There were no differences between both strains regarding viability, radial growth, and conidia production, either in the median survival time or insect mortality. However, Bb-C001 showed a higher expression than GHA of the bassianolide synthetase gene (BbbslS) during infection, and similar levels of the beauvericin synthetase gene (BbbeaS). Immune-related genes of T. infestans nymphs (limpet-2 and defensin-1, -2, and -6) were later expressed and thus insects failed to stop the infection process. These results showed that B. bassiana Bb-C001 is a promised fungal strain to be incorporated in the current biological control programs of T. infestans in Salta province, Argentina. View Full-Text
Keywords: entomopathogenic fungi; resistant triatomines; biological control; bassianolide; beauvericin; limpet; dual gene expression entomopathogenic fungi; resistant triatomines; biological control; bassianolide; beauvericin; limpet; dual gene expression
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Baldiviezo, L.V.; Pedrini, N.; Santana, M.; Mannino, M.C.; Nieva, L.B.; Gentile, A.; Cardozo, R.M. Isolation of Beauveria bassiana from the Chagas Disease Vector Triatoma infestans in the Gran Chaco Region of Argentina: Assessment of Gene Expression during Host–Pathogen Interaction. J. Fungi 2020, 6, 219.

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