Wolbachia restricts insect-specific flavivirus infection in Aedes aegypti cells

J Gen Virol. 2016 Nov;97(11):3024-3029. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000617. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Mosquito-borne viruses are known to cause disease in humans and livestock and are often difficult to control due to the lack of specific antivirals and vaccines. The Wolbachia endosymbiont has been widely studied for its ability to restrict positive-strand RNA virus infection in mosquitoes, although little is known about the precise antiviral mechanism. In recent years, a variety of insect-specific viruses have been discovered in mosquitoes and an interaction with mosquito-borne viruses has been reported for some of them; however, nothing is known about the effect of Wolbachia on insect-specific virus infection in mosquitoes. Here, we show that transinfection of the Drosophila-derived wMelPop Wolbachia strain into Aedes aegypti-derived cells resulted in inhibition and even clearance of the persistent cell-fusing agent flavivirus infection in these cells. This broadens the antiviral activity of Wolbachia from acute infections to persistent infections and from arboviruses to mosquito-specific viruses. In contrast, no effect on the Phasi Charoen-like bunyavirus persistent infection in these cells was observed, suggesting a difference in Wolbachia inhibition between positive- and negative-strand RNA viruses.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / microbiology*
  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / microbiology
  • Flavivirus / physiology*
  • Insect Vectors / microbiology
  • Insect Vectors / virology
  • Species Specificity
  • Wolbachia / physiology*