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J Med Entomol. 2001 Mar;38(2):237-41.

Wolbachia infections of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae).

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Old and New World phlebotomine sand fly species were screened for infection with Wolbachia, intracellular bacterial endosymbionts found in many arthropods and filarial nematodes. Of 53 samples representing 15 species, nine samples offour species were found positive for Wolbachia by polymerase chain reaction amplification using primers for the Wolbachia surface protein (wsp) gene. Five of the wsp gene fragments from four species were cloned, sequenced, and used for phylogenetic analysis. These wsp sequences were placed in three different clades within the arthropod associated Wolbachia (groups A and B), suggesting that Wolbacia has infected sand flies on more than one occasion. Two distantly related sand fly species, Lutzomyia (Psanthyromyia) shannoi (Dyar) and Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) whitmani (Antunes & Coutinho), infected with an identical Wolbachia strain suggest a very recent horizontal transmission.

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