Novel phenotype of Wolbachia strain wPip in Aedes aegypti challenges assumptions on mechanisms of Wolbachia-mediated dengue virus inhibition

Johanna E. Fraser, Tanya B. O'Donnell, Johanna M. Duyvestyn, Scott L. O'Neill, Cameron P. Simmons, Heather A. Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia is a biocontrol tool that inhibits the ability of the Aedes aegypti mosquito to transmit positive-sense RNA viruses such as dengue and Zika. Growing evidence indicates that when Wolbachia strains wMel or wAlbB are introduced into local mosquito populations, human dengue incidence is reduced. Despite the success of this novel intervention, we still do not fully understand how Wolbachia protects mosquitoes from viral infection. Here, we demonstrate that the Wolbachia strain wPip does not inhibit virus infection in Ae. aegypti. We have leveraged this novel finding, and a panel of Ae. aegypti lines carrying virus-inhibitory (wMel and wAlbB) and non-inhibitory (wPip) strains in a common genetic background, to rigorously test a number of hypotheses about the mechanism of Wolbachia-mediated virus inhibition. We demonstrate that, contrary to previous suggestions, there is no association between a strain's ability to inhibit dengue infection in the mosquito and either its typical density in the midgut or salivary glands, or the degree to which it elevates innate immune response pathways in the mosquito. These findings, and the experimental platform provided by this panel of genetically comparable mosquito lines, clear the way for future investigations to define how Wolbachia prevents Ae. aegypti from transmitting viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008410
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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