Monday, November 7, 2011

A Parasite, of a Parasite, that fights a Parasite, is our friend?

Given our current inability to fight dengue on the molecular level (vaccines) and the difficulty mosquito abatement programs are facing with regard to the ever increasing range of Aedes aegypti, some researchers have turned their focus to possible microbial mechanisms that'll limit the spread of DENV. One technique in particular--the infection of Aedes aegypti with a symbiotic Wolbachia bacterium--has shown promise in providing immunity to DENV for this dipteran species. A suggested Wol-DENV control program would involve releasing infected A. aegypti and letting them mate and reproduce with wild mosquitoes will lead to population-wide immunity; issues that have to be addressed are the fitness of Wol-infected mosquitoes, and potential ramifications of infection.

Notes:
* Wolbachia is a natural symbiont for many arthropods and have been found to be essential for the reproductive cycles of some species.
* Although Aedes albopictus is the original Wolbachia host (what a coincidence!), Wolbachia can thrive in A. aegypti as well.
* Wolbachia is transmitted vertically in insects

Source: Bian et al. THe Endosymbiotic Bacterium Wolbachia Induces Resistance to Dengue Virus in Aedes aegypti. PLoS 2010
http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000833

- NGUyen -

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