In the hunt for genomic markers of metabolic resistance to pyrethroids in the mosquito Aedes aegypti: An integrated next-generation sequencing approach


The capacity of Aedes mosquitoes to resist chemical insecticides threatens the control of major arbovirus diseases worldwide. Until alternative control tools are widely deployed, monitoring insecticide resistance levels and identifying resistance mechanisms in field mosquito populations is crucial for implementing appropriate management strategies. Metabolic resistance to pyrethroids is common in Aedes aegypti but the monitoring of the dynamics of resistant alleles is impeded by the lack of robust genomic markers.

Methodology/Principal findings

In an attempt to identify the genomic bases of metabolic resistance to deltamethrin, multiple resistant and susceptible populations originating from various continents were compared using both RNA-seq and a targeted DNA-seq approach focused on the upstream regions of detoxification genes. Multiple detoxification enzymes were over transcribed in resistant populations, frequently associated with an increase in their gene copy number. Targeted sequencing identified potential promoter variations associated with their over transcription. Non-synonymous variations affecting detoxification enzymes were also identified in resistant populations.

Conclusion /Significance

This study not only confirmed the role of gene copy number variations as a frequent cause of the over expression of detoxification enzymes associated with insecticide resistance in Aedes aegypti but also identified novel genomic resistance markers potentially associated with their cis-regulation and modifications of their protein structure conformation. As for gene transcription data, polymorphism patterns were frequently conserved within regions but differed among continents confirming the selection of different resistance factors worldwide. Overall, this study paves the way of the identification of a comprehensive set of genomic markers for monitoring the spatio-temporal dynamics of the variety of insecticide resistance mechanisms in Aedes aegypti.