Wolbachia Mosquitoes – The Lab
23 Jan 2017
Because it cannot survive outside cells, Wolbachia infections in a new host species are created by injecting the mosquito eggs using a technique called microinjection. For example, cytoplasm containing natural Wolbachia is withdrawn from the eggs of Aedes albopictus or the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and then injected into Aedes aegypti eggs from a Malaysian colony. The injected eggs are hatched and those adults that subsequently emerge with a high density of Wolbachia are selected and colonised.
In our partner lab led by Prof Steven Sinkins at Glasgow University, Scotland, a number of lines of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus have now been created that carry different Wolbachia strains. The development of dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses in these Wolbachia mosquitoes is blocked. From these, the lines chosen for field trials should possess high Wolbachia density and effective virus transmission-blocking capacity. These characteristics should not affect the fitness of the mosquitoes so that they are as robust as the wild mosquitoes and can spread easily and rapidly to replace wild mosquitoes with Wolbachia– carrying mosquitoes.
The microinjection technique used to transfer Wolbachia into individual freshly laid (less than 2 hours) mosquito eggs.