Replacing a native Wolbachia with a novel strain results in an increase in endosymbiont load and resistance to dengue virus in a mosquito vector

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Jun 6;7(6):e2250. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0002250. Print 2013.


Wolbachia is a maternally transmitted endosymbiotic bacterium that is estimated to infect up to 65% of insect species. The ability of Wolbachia to both induce pathogen interference and spread into mosquito vector populations makes it possible to develop Wolbachia as a biological control agent for vector-borne disease control. Although Wolbachia induces resistance to dengue virus (DENV), filarial worms, and Plasmodium in mosquitoes, species like Aedes polynesiensis and Aedes albopictus, which carry native Wolbachia infections, are able to transmit dengue and filariasis. In a previous study, the native wPolA in Ae. polynesiensis was replaced with wAlbB from Ae. albopictus, and resulted in the generation of the transinfected "MTB" strain with low susceptibility for filarial worms. In this study, we compare the dynamics of DENV serotype 2 (DENV-2) within the wild type "APM" strain and the MTB strain of Ae. polynesiensis by measuring viral infection in the mosquito whole body, midgut, head, and saliva at different time points post infection. The results show that wAlbB can induce a strong resistance to DENV-2 in the MTB mosquito. Evidence also supports that this resistance is related to a dramatic increase in Wolbachia density in the MTB's somatic tissues, including the midgut and salivary gland. Our results suggests that replacement of a native Wolbachia with a novel infection could serve as a strategy for developing a Wolbachia-based approach to target naturally infected insects for vector-borne disease control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / microbiology*
  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animal Structures / virology
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Load
  • Dengue Virus / growth & development*
  • Dengue Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Microbial Interactions
  • Viral Load
  • Wolbachia / growth & development*