Generation of a novel Wolbachia infection in Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) via embryonic microinjection

Zhiyong Xi, Jeffry L. Dean, Cynthia Khoo, Stephen L. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Genetic strategies that reduce or block pathogen transmission by mosquitoes are being investigated as a means to augment current control measures. Strategies of vector suppression and replacement are based upon intracellular Wolbachia bacteria, which occur naturally in many insect populations. Maternally inherited Wolbachia have evolved diverse mechanisms to manipulate host insect reproduction and promote infection invasion. One mechanism is cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) through which Wolbachia promotes infection spread by effectively sterilizing uninfected females. In a prior field test, releases of Wolbachia-infected males were used to suppress a field population of Culex pipiens. An additional strategy would employ Wolbachia as a vehicle to drive desired transgenes into vector populations (population replacement). Wolbachia-based population suppression and population replacement strategies require an ability to generate artificial Wolbachia associations in mosquitoes. Here, we demonstrate a technique for transferring Wolbachia (transfection) in a medically important mosquito species: Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito). Microinjection was used to transfer embryo cytoplasm from a double-infected Ae. albopictus line into an aposymbiotic line. The resulting mosquito line is single-infected with the wAlbB Wolbachia type. The artificially generated infection type is not known to occur naturally and displays a new CI crossing type and the first known example of bidirectional CI in Aedes mosquitoes. We discuss the results in relation to applied mosquito control strategies and the evolution of Wolbachia infections in Ae. albopictus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-910
Number of pages8
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Craig Coates and his laboratory for their assistance with the embryo injection technique and Lok-Sze Ng for assistance with injection and screening. This work was supported by NIH grant (NIH-AI-51533) and a Dissertation Enhancement Award from the Graduate School of University of Kentucky. This is publication 04-08-174 of the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Microinjection
  • Wolbachia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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