The common bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia manipulates its host's reproduction to promote its own maternal transmission, and can interfere with pathogen development in many insects making it an attractive agent for the control of arthropod-borne disease. However, many important species, including Anopheles mosquitoes, are uninfected. Wolbachia can be artificially transferred between insects in the laboratory but this can be a laborious and sometimes fruitless process. We used a simple ex vivo culturing technique to assess the suitability of Wolbachia-host germline associations. Wolbachia infects the dissected germline tissue of multiple insect species when the host tissue and bacteria are cultured together. Ovary and testis infection occurs in a density-dependent manner. Wolbachia strains are more capable of invading the germline of their native or closely related rather than divergent hosts. The ability of Wolbachia to associate with the germline of novel hosts is crucial for the development of stably-transinfected insect lines. Rapid assessment of the suitability of a strain-host combination prior to transinfection may dictate use of a particular Wolbachia strain. Furthermore, the cultured germline tissues of two major Anopheline vectors of Plasmodium parasites are susceptible to Wolbachia infection. This finding further enhances the prospect of using Wolbachia for the biological control of malaria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)