Wolbachia strain wAlbB enhances infection by the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes

Grant L. Hughes, Joel Vega-Rodriguez, Ping Xue, Jason L. Rasgon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Wolbachia, a common bacterial endosymbiont of insects, has been shown to protect its hosts against a wide range of pathogens. However, not all strains exert a protective effect on their host. Here we assess the effects of two divergent Wolbachia strains, wAlbB from Aedes albopictus and wMelPop from Drosophila melanogaster, on the vector competence of Anopheles gambiae challenged with Plasmodium berghei. We show that the wAlbB strain significantly increases P. berghei oocyst levels in the mosquito midgut while wMelPop modestly suppresses oocyst levels. The wAlbB strain is avirulent to mosquitoes while wMelPop is moderately virulent to mosquitoes pre-blood meal and highly virulent after mosquitoes have fed on mice. These various effects on P. berghei levels suggest that Wolbachia strains differ in their interactions with the host and/or pathogen, and these differences could be used to dissect the molecular mechanisms that cause interference of pathogen development in mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1491-1495
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology

Cite this