Interspecific transfer of a Wolbachia infection into Aedes albopictus (diptera: culicidae) yields a novel phenotype capable of rescuing a superinfection

Elizabeth S. Andrews, Yuqing Fu, Maurizio Calvitti, Stephen L. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wolbachia are maternally transmitted obligate bacteria that occur naturally in many arthropods. The phenotype observed in mosquitoes is known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), which results in reduced or absent egg hatch in crosses between individuals with different infection types. Applied mosquito control strategies propose that by releasing individuals infected with a Wolbachia strain that differs from that in the natural host population, CI could be used to suppress or replace mosquito populations. Here, using tetracycline treatment and embryonic microinjection, Aedes albopictus (Skuse) was cleared of its natural Wolbachia infection and artificially infected with a Wolbachia strain originating from Aedes riversi Bohart & Ingram. Crossing experiments were carried out to determine whether CI could be observed between the artificially infected strain (UC), naturally infected (wild type), and uninfected strains of Ae. albopictus. Crosses between UC males and uninfected females resulted in no egg hatch, a classic unidirectional CI pattern. Crosses between the wild-type and UC strain also exhibited a unidirectional pattern of CI, demonstrating that the UC strain is compatible with both of the Wolbachia types that occur within Ae. albopictus and that wild-type Wolbachia infections are unable to fully rescue the UC Wolbachia type. Crosses between the UC strain and another artificially infected Ae. albopictus strain (ARwP), were bidirectionally incompatible, demonstrating that the UC strain is not compatible with all Wolbachia types. The CI patterns observed in this study were atypical and the opposite of that typically observed with superinfections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1192-1198
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Entomological Society of America.


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Cytoplasmic incompatibility
  • Embryonic microinjection
  • Wolbachia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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