Wolbachia Blocks Currently Circulating Zika Virus Isolates in Brazilian Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes

Cell Host Microbe. 2016 Jun 8;19(6):771-4. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2016.04.021. Epub 2016 May 4.


The recent association of Zika virus with cases of microcephaly has sparked a global health crisis and highlighted the need for mechanisms to combat the Zika vector, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Wolbachia pipientis, a bacterial endosymbiont of insect, has recently garnered attention as a mechanism for arbovirus control. Here we report that Aedes aegypti harboring Wolbachia are highly resistant to infection with two currently circulating Zika virus isolates from the recent Brazilian epidemic. Wolbachia-harboring mosquitoes displayed lower viral prevalence and intensity and decreased disseminated infection and, critically, did not carry infectious virus in the saliva, suggesting that viral transmission was blocked. Our data indicate that the use of Wolbachia-harboring mosquitoes could represent an effective mechanism to reduce Zika virus transmission and should be included as part of Zika control strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / microbiology*
  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Antibiosis
  • Brazil
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Insect Vectors / microbiology
  • Insect Vectors / virology
  • Male
  • Saliva / microbiology
  • Saliva / virology
  • Symbiosis
  • Wolbachia / physiology*
  • Zika Virus / isolation & purification
  • Zika Virus / physiology*
  • Zika Virus Infection / microbiology
  • Zika Virus Infection / prevention & control
  • Zika Virus Infection / transmission
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology