Table of Contents

May 2011

The maternally inherited bacterium Wolbachia is of extreme interest as an agent to control malaria. In some mosquitoes, Wolbachia interferes with their ability to transmit vector-borne pathogens. Heritable Wolbachia infections are common in mosquitoes, but have never been established in the genus Anopheles. However, when injected into adults, Wolbachia is able to establish infection in Anopheles somatic tissues. In Anopheles, somatic Wolbachia infections suppress the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Some Wolbachia strains also induce mortality in infected blood-fed Anopheles. When stable maternally inherited infections are established in Anopheles mosquitoes, Wolbachia will have great promise as a potential agent to control malaria (see Hughes et al., doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002043).

Image Credit: Ryuichi Koga, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Jason L. Rasgon, Johns Hopkins University



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