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9 June 2020 The Persistence of Escherichia coli Infection in German Cockroaches (Blattodea: Blattellidae) Varies Between Host Developmental Stages and is Influenced by the Gut Microbiota
Ritesh Ray, Rashaun Potts, Jose E. Pietri
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Abstract

The German cockroach, Blatella germanica (L.), is a suspected vector of several enteric bacterial pathogens, including Escherichia coli, among livestock and humans. However, little is known about the factors that influence bacterial transmission by cockroaches. Here, we orally infected B. germanica with various laboratory and field strains of E. coli and examined bacterial titers over time to shed new light on the factors that influence the dynamics of infection. Our results reveal that a laboratory strain of E. coli is largely cleared within 48 h while one field isolate can persist in a majority of cockroaches (80–100%) for longer than 3 d with minimal impact on cockroach longevity. We also find that the ability to clear some strains of E. coli is greater in cockroach nymphs than adults. Notably, no differential expression of the antimicrobial gene lysozyme was observed between nymphs and adults or in infected groups. However, clearance of E. coli was significantly reduced in gnotobiotic cockroaches that were reared in the absence of environmental bacteria, suggesting a protective role for the microbiota against exogenous bacterial pathogens. Together, these results demonstrate that the interactions between cockroaches and enteric bacterial pathogens are highly dynamic and influenced by a combination of microbial, host, and environmental parameters. Such factors may affect the disease transmission capacity of cockroaches in nature and should be further considered in both lab and field studies.

© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Ritesh Ray, Rashaun Potts, and Jose E. Pietri "The Persistence of Escherichia coli Infection in German Cockroaches (Blattodea: Blattellidae) Varies Between Host Developmental Stages and is Influenced by the Gut Microbiota," Journal of Medical Entomology 57(6), 1964-1971, (9 June 2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjaa108
Received: 14 April 2020; Accepted: 11 May 2020; Published: 9 June 2020
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KEYWORDS
bacteria
Blatella germanica
cockroach
E. coli
pathogen
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