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Front Microbiol. 2019 Jan 24;9:3205. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03205. eCollection 2018.

In vitro Trypanocidal Activity, Genomic Analysis of Isolates, and in vivo Transcription of Type VI Secretion System of Serratia marcescens Belonging to the Microbiota of Rhodnius prolixus Digestive Tract.

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Laboratório de Biologia Computacional e Sistemas, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (IOC/FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Entomologia Molecular (INCT-EM), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Laboratório de Bioquímica e Fisiologia de Insetos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (IOC/FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Laboratório de Enteropatógenos, Microbiologia Veterinária e de Alimentos, Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, Instituto Biomédico, Universidade Federal Fluminense (MIP/UFF), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Laboratório de Modelagem de Sistemas Biológicos, National Institute for Science and Technology on Innovation in Neglected Diseases (INCT-IDN), Centro de Desenvolvimento Tecnológico em Saúde, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (CDTS/FIOCRUZ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Serratia marcescens is a bacterium with the ability to colonize several niches, including some eukaryotic hosts. S. marcescens have been recently found in the gut of hematophagous insects that act as parasite vectors, such as Anopheles, Rhodnius, and Triatoma. While some S. marcescens strains have been reported as symbiotic or pathogenic to other insects, the role of S. marcescens populations from the gut microbiota of Rhodnius prolixus, a vector of Chagas' disease, remains unknown. Bacterial colonies from R. prolixus gut were isolated on BHI agar. After BOX-PCR fingerprinting, the genomic sequences of two isolates RPA1 and RPH1 were compared to others S. marcescens from the NCBI database in other to estimate their evolutionary divergence. The in vitro trypanolytic activity of these two bacterial isolates against Trypanosoma cruzi (DM28c clone and Y strain) was assessed by microscopy. In addition, the gene expression of type VI secretion system (T6SS) was detected in vivo by RT-PCR. Comparative genomics of RPA1 and RPH1 revealed, besides plasmid presence and genomic islands, genes related to motility, attachment, and quorum sensing in both genomes while genes for urea hydrolysis and type II secretion system (T2SS) were found only in the RPA1 genome. The in vitro trypanolytic activity of both S. marcescens strains was stronger in their stationary phases of growth than in their exponential ones, with 65-70 and 85-90% of epimastigotes (Dm28c clone and Y strain, respectively) being lysed after incubation with RPA1 or RPH1 in stationary phase. Although T6SS transcripts were detected in guts up to 40 days after feeding (DAF), R. prolixus morbidity or mortality did not appear to be affected. In this report, we made available two trypanolytic S. marcescens strains from R. prolixus gut to the scientific community together with their genomic sequences. Here, we describe their genomic features with the purpose of bringing new insights into the S. marcescens adaptations for colonization of the specific niche of triatomine guts. This study provides the basis for a better understanding of the role of S. marcescens in the microbiota of R. prolixus gut as a potential antagonist of T. cruzi in this complex system.


Rhodnius prolixus; Serratia marcescens; Trypanosoma cruzi; antagonistic genes; trypanocidal activity

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