First report of natural Wolbachia infections in mosquitoes from Cuba

A. Ruiz, G. Gutiérrez-Bugallo, R. Rodríguez-Roche, L. Pérez, R. González-Broche, L. A. Piedra, L. C. Martínez, Z. Menéndez, A. Vega-Rúa and J. A. Bisset,  Acta Tropica,  242:106891. 2023.

Mosquitoes are extensively responsible for the transmission of pathogens. Novel strategies using Wolbachia could transform that scenario, since these bacteria manipulate mosquito reproduction, and can confer a pathogen transmission-blocking phenotype in culicids. Here, we screened the Wolbachia surface protein region by PCR in eight Cuban mosquito species. We confirmed the natural infections by sequencing and assessed the phylogenetic relationships among the Wolbachia strains detected. We identified four Wolbachia hosts: Aedes albopictus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Mansonia titillans, and Aedes mediovittatus (first report worldwide). Knowledge of Wolbachia strains and their natural hosts is essential for future operationalization of this vector control strategy in Cuba.

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