Pathogenicity of life-shortening Wolbachia in Aedes albopictus after transfer from Drosophila melanogaster

Eunho Suh, David R. Mercer, Yuqing Fu, Stephen L. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Maternally inherited Wolbachia bacteria have evolved mechanisms to manipulate the reproduction of their invertebrate hosts, promoting infection spread. A high fitness cost to the host is maladaptive for obligate endosymbionts, and prior studies show rapid selection of new Wolbachia associations toward commensal or mutualistic symbioses. Here, wMelPop Wolbachia is transferred from Drosophila melanogaster into the mosquito Aedes albopictus. Characterization of the resulting strain provides an extreme example of Wolbachia as a pathogen. In addition to reduced longevity and fecundity, abnormally high Wolbachia density is associated with embryonic mortality that masks the typical pattern of cytoplasmic incompatibility. The results are consistent with earlier reports that show unpredictable shifts in the Wolbachia phenotype after interspecific transfer, which can complicate proposed strategies to modify the age structure of medically important vector populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7783-7788
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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