The cellular lives of Wolbachia

J. Porter and W. Sullivan,  Nature Reviews Microbiology,  2023.

Wolbachia are successful Gram-negative bacterial endosymbionts, globally infecting a large fraction of arthropod species and filarial nematodes. Efficient vertical transmission, the capacity for horizontal transmission, manipulation of host reproduction and enhancement of host fitness can promote the spread both within and between species. Wolbachia are abundant and can occupy extraordinary diverse and evolutionary distant host species, suggesting that they have evolved to engage and manipulate highly conserved core cellular processes. Here, we review recent studies identifying Wolbachia–host interactions at the molecular and cellular levels. We explore how Wolbachia interact with a wide array of host cytoplasmic and nuclear components in order to thrive in a diversity of cell types and cellular environments. This endosymbiont has also evolved the ability to precisely target and manipulate specific phases of the host cell cycle. The remarkable diversity of cellular interactions distinguishes Wolbachia from other endosymbionts and is largely responsible for facilitating its global propagation through host populations. Finally, we describe how insights into Wolbachia–host cellular interactions have led to promising applications in controlling insect-borne and filarial nematode-based diseases.

More related to this: