Limited Dengue Virus Replication in Field-Collected Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes Infected with Wolbachia

Francesca D. Frentiu, Tasnim Zakir, Thomas Walker, Jean Popovici, Alyssa T. Pyke, Andrew van den Hurk, Elizabeth A. McGraw, Scott L. O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Introduction:Dengue is one of the most widespread mosquito-borne diseases in the world. The causative agent, dengue virus (DENV), is primarily transmitted by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, a species that has proved difficult to control using conventional methods. The discovery that A. aegypti transinfected with the wMel strain of Wolbachia showed limited DENV replication led to trial field releases of these mosquitoes in Cairns, Australia as a biocontrol strategy for the virus.Methodology/Principal Findings:Field collected wMel mosquitoes that were challenged with three DENV serotypes displayed limited rates of body infection, viral replication and dissemination to the head compared to uninfected controls. Rates of dengue infection, replication and dissemination in field wMel mosquitoes were similar to those observed in the original transinfected wMel line that had been maintained in the laboratory. We found that wMel was distributed in similar body tissues in field mosquitoes as in laboratory ones, but, at seven days following blood-feeding, wMel densities increased to a greater extent in field mosquitoes.Conclusions/Significance:Our results indicate that virus-blocking is likely to persist in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes after their release and establishment in wild populations, suggesting that Wolbachia biocontrol may be a successful strategy for reducing dengue transmission in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2688
JournalPLoS neglected tropical diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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