Wolbachia Endosymbiont and Mosquito Vectors, with Emphasis on Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination

I. P. Sunish,  Genetically Modified and other Innovative Vector Control Technologies,  2021.

Wolbachia are maternally inherited intracellular bacteria, known to alter early development and mitotic processes in their hosts. They are frequently observed as a reproductive parasite, capable of inducing feminization, parthenogenesis, male killing, or cytoplasmic incompatibility. A total of 18 clades of Wolbachia have been reported, almost exclusively in arthropods. Wolbachia-based strategies have been proposed for the control of disease vectors. Wolbachia-based population suppression and transmission blocking can work in species not commonly infected with Wolbachia in the wild. However, efficient maintenance and spread of Wolbachia infection into field populations is crucial to the success of this strategy. Property of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) can be used to reduce the density of mosquito field populations through inundative releases of incompatible males in order to sterilize females. In semi-field condition at La Reunion, the LR[wPip(Is)] males of Culex quinquefasciatus successfully competed with field males in mating with field females. Depletion of Wolbachia endobacteria by antibiotic therapy prevents larval moulting and kills adult filarial worms. This strategy could act as an adjunct to vector control and is being exploited for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis.

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