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How Wolbachia bacteria controls vectors of deadly diseases

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Researchers at Boston University have made discoveries that provide the foundation towards novel approaches to control insects that transmit deadly diseases such as dengue fever and malaria through their study of the Wolbachia bacteria. Their findings have been published in the current issue of Science Express.

"Wolbachia are widespread, maternally-transmitted intracellular bacteria that infect most insect species and are able to alter the reproduction of innumerous hosts," said Horacio Frydman, assistant professor of biology at Boston University and the study's principal investigator. "An important aspect of this relationship is that Wolbachia often alter their host's reproductive ability, yet very little is known about how this is achieved." In this paper, PhD student Eva Fast and her colleagues in the Frydman lab describe a study in Drosophila mauritiana that offers insights into the cellular mechanisms through which Wolbachia upregulates egg production by their hosts.

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