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Science. 2013 May 10;340(6133):748-51. doi: 10.1126/science.1236192.

Wolbachia invades Anopheles stephensi populations and induces refractoriness to Plasmodium infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Wolbachia is a maternally transmitted symbiotic bacterium of insects that has been proposed as a potential agent for the control of insect-transmitted diseases. One of the major limitations preventing the development of Wolbachia for malaria control has been the inability to establish inherited infections of Wolbachia in anopheline mosquitoes. Here, we report the establishment of a stable Wolbachia infection in an important malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi. In A. stephensi, Wolbachia strain wAlbB displays both perfect maternal transmission and the ability to induce high levels of cytoplasmic incompatibility. Seeding of naturally uninfected A. stephensi populations with infected females repeatedly resulted in Wolbachia invasion of laboratory mosquito populations. Furthermore, wAlbB conferred resistance in the mosquito to the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

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