Luisa M. Arias-Giraldo,Marina Muñoz,Carolina Hernández,Giovanny Herrera,Natalia Velásquez-Ortiz,Omar Cantillo-Barraza,et al.
Triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) are the insect vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. The gut bacterial communities affect the development of T. cruzi inside the vector, making the characterization of its composition important in the understanding of infection development. We collected 54 triatomine bugs corresponding to four genera in different departments of Colombia. DNA extraction and PCR were performed to evaluate T. cruzi presence and to determine the discrete typing unit (DTU) of the parasite. PCR products of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene were pooled and sequenced. Resulting reads were denoised and QIIME 2 was used for the identification of amplicon sequence variants (ASVs). Diversity (alpha and beta diversity) and richness analyses, Circos plots, and principal component analysis (PCA) were also performed. The overall T. cruzi infection frequency was 75.9%, with TcI being the predominant DTU. Approximately 500,000 sequences were analyzed and 27 bacterial phyla were identified. The most abundant phyla were Proteobacteria (33.9%), Actinobacteria (32.4%), Firmicutes (19.6%), and Bacteroidetes (7.6%), which together accounted for over 90% of the gut communities identified in this study. Genera were identified for these main bacterial phyla, revealing the presence of important bacteria such as Rhodococcus, Serratia, and Wolbachia. The composition of bacterial phyla in the gut of the insects was significantly different between triatomine species, whereas no significant difference was seen between the state of T. cruzi infection. We suggest further investigation with the evaluation of additional variables and a larger sample size. To our knowledge, this study is the first characterization of the gut bacterial structure of the main triatomine genera in Colombia.