Doctoral thesis in Microbiologie/Parasitologie
Under the supervision of Carlo Costantini.
defended on 14-12-2012
in Montpellier 2 , under the authority of Systèmes Intégrés en Biologie, Agronomie, Géosciences, Hydrosciences, Environnement (Montpellier ; École Doctorale ; 2009-2015) , in a partnership with Maladies infectieuses et vecteurs : écologie, génétique, évolution et contrôle (Montpellier) (laboratoire) .
Characterization of some phenotypes related to aridity and temperature in Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (Giles, 1902)
Thanks to progress in sequencing, the genomes of many organisms are known and available. Thus, functional genomics, the elucidation of gene function in sequenced genome, is currently booming. However, there is a gap between our growing knowledge in genetic and the current sparse information on phentoypic data ( "phenotype gap"). All organisms whose genome has been sequenced are facing this problem, including Anopheles gambiae.Anopheles gambiae sensu lato is a complex of sibling species, indistinguishable from a morphological point of view, present on almost the entire African continent. A. gambiae demonstrates an extreme environmental ubiquity and the characterization of phenotypes associated with adaptation to varying environments as well as the identification of genes involved in this adaptation is one of the main research axes in the post-genome area of this major malaria vector.We have studied some phenotypes associated with aridity and temperature in the nominal species of the A. gambiae complex. These two parameters are discriminent in the distribution of molecular forms and chromosomal inversions that characterize this species and may be involved in ecological divergence and speciation. We first measured desiccation resistance of adult mosquitoes of A. gambiae s.s. and we then studied the preferred temperatures of larvae in a choice device set-up (the shuttlebox). We compared the thermoregulation behavior and thermal preferences of a laboratory strain with field larvae of A. gambiae s.s. We also presented preliminary data on the preferred temperatures measured in field larvae of the S and M molecular forms.From a technical point of view, we improved an existing device for testing the survival of mosquitoes in highly desiccated conditions by coupling it with a video surveillance system, which help to increase the accuracy in determining the survival time, to avoid disturbing the system during the experiment and allow to test relatively large numbers of individuals. This study revealed a significant association between the 2La chromosomal inversion and resistance to desiccation in A. gambiae and highlighted the role of body size in the survival of this mosquito in dry environments.We also adapted a new device to study experimentally the thermopreference of A. gambiae s.s. larvae. The results showed that laboratory larvae and field M molecular form larvae had similar thermal preferences, consistent with the values of temperature usually found in natural breeding sites. In addition, the S molecular form larvae from southern Cameroon had preferences similar to those of northern Cameroon, regardless of karyotypes related to chromosomal inversions. In addition, the comparison of data for the M and S molecular forms larvae revealed that there was no significant difference in thermal preferences or in thermoregulatory behavior.Our results have contributed to the development of two experimental devices to study two phenotypes that are of major interest in understanding the adaptation of A. gambiae s.s. to its environment. The differences in desiccation resistance between the different karyotypes associated with the 2La chromosomal inversion and between the M and S molecular forms offer interesting new possibilities for the identification of genetic factors involved in their ecological divergence.
Grâce aux progrès expérimentaux permettant d'étudier deux phénotypes qui sont d'un intérêt majeur dans la compréhension des capacités d'adaptation d'A. gambiae s.s. à son environnement. Les différences de résistance à la dessiccation mises en évidence entre les différents caryotypes liés à l'inversion chromosomique 2La et entre les formes moléculaires M et S offrent des pistes intéressantes pour l'identification de facteurs génétiques impliqués dans la divergence écologique au sein de ce complexe d'espèces.