A wolbachia symbiont in aedes aegypti limits infection with dengue, chikungunya, and plasmodium

Luciano Moreira, Inaki Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Jason Jeffery, Guangjin Lu, Alyssa Pyke, Lauren Hedges, Bruno Rocha, Sonja Hall-Mendelin, Andrew Day, Markus Riegler, Leon Hugo, Karyn Johnson, Brian Kay, Elizabeth McGraw, Andrew F van den Hurk, Peter Rayn, Scott Leslie O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

918 Citations (Scopus)


Wolbachia are maternally inherited intracellular bacterial symbionts that are estimated to infect more than 60 of all insect species. While Wolbachia is commonly found in many mosquitoes it is absent from the species that are considered to be of major importance for the transmission of human pathogens. The successful introduction of a life-shortening strain of Wolbachia into the dengue vector Aedes aegypti that halves adult lifespan has recently been reported. Here we show that this same Wolbachia infection also directly inhibits the ability of a range of pathogens to infect this mosquito species. The effect is Wolbachia strain specific and relates to Wolbachia priming of the mosquito innate immune system and potentially competition for limiting cellular resources required for pathogen replication. We suggest that this Wolbachia-mediated pathogen interference may work synergistically with the life-shortening strategy proposed previously to provide a powerful approach for the control of insect transmitted diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268 - 1278
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Cite this