Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis

Brittany L. Dodson, Grant L. Hughes, Oluwatobi Paul, Amy C. Matacchiero, Laura D. Kramer, Jason L. Rasgon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Novel strategies are required to control mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit. One attractive approach involves maternally inherited endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria. After artificial infection with Wolbachia, many mosquitoes become refractory to infection and transmission of diverse pathogens. We evaluated the effects of Wolbachia (wAlbB strain) on infection, dissemination and transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) in the naturally uninfected mosquito Culex tarsalis, which is an important WNV vector in North America. After inoculation into adult female mosquitoes, Wolbachia reached high titers and disseminated widely to numerous tissues including the head, thoracic flight muscles, fat body and ovarian follicles. Contrary to other systems, Wolbachia did not inhibit WNV in this mosquito. Rather, WNV infection rate was significantly higher in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes compared to controls. Quantitative PCR of selected innate immune genes indicated that REL1 (the activator of the antiviral Toll immune pathway) was down regulated in Wolbachia-infected relative to control mosquitoes. This is the first observation of Wolbachia-induced enhancement of a human pathogen in mosquitoes, suggesting that caution should be applied before releasing Wolbachia-infected insects as part of a vector-borne disease control program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2965
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Wolbachia
West Nile virus
Culex
Virus Diseases
Culicidae
Mosquito Control
Infectious Disease Transmission
Disease Vectors
Fat Body
Ovarian Follicle
North America
Antiviral Agents
Insects
Thorax
Head
Observation
Bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Cite this

Dodson, B. L., Hughes, G. L., Paul, O., Matacchiero, A. C., Kramer, L. D., & Rasgon, J. L. (2014). Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 8(7), [e2965]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002965

Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis. / Dodson, Brittany L.; Hughes, Grant L.; Paul, Oluwatobi; Matacchiero, Amy C.; Kramer, Laura D.; Rasgon, Jason L.

In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol. 8, No. 7, e2965, 2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dodson, BL, Hughes, GL, Paul, O, Matacchiero, AC, Kramer, LD & Rasgon, JL 2014, 'Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 8, no. 7, e2965. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0002965
Dodson, Brittany L. ; Hughes, Grant L. ; Paul, Oluwatobi ; Matacchiero, Amy C. ; Kramer, Laura D. ; Rasgon, Jason L. / Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis. In: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2014 ; Vol. 8, No. 7.
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