How Wolbachia bacteria controls vectors of deadly diseases

Oct 20, 2011

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 through which Wolbachia upregulates by their hosts.

Specifically, the BU team demonstrate that Wolbachia in D. mauritiana have a remarkable tropism for terminal filament and cap cells in the female germline stem cell (GSC) niche (and a similar tropism in hub cells, the male GSC niche). They also show through extensive analysis of proliferation and cell death markers in multiple experiments that infected D. mauritiana have higher rates of GSC division and lower rates of germline cyst death in the germarium relative to uninfected counterparts. Finally, they provide compelling evidence suggesting that Wolbachia affects GSC division through effects on the niche. "Knowledge emerging from this research will be relevant for the basic as well for the development of cell biological strategies for disease control," said Frydman.

Explore further: Bulletproof nuclei? Stem cells exhibit unusual absorption property

Provided by Boston University Medical Center

5 /5 (1 vote)

Related Stories

Taking the sting out of insect disease

Oct 31, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Queensland researchers have made a discovery that could open up a new front in the fight against insect-transmitted diseases.

Scientists find bacterium can halt dengue virus transmission

Apr 01, 2010

Dengue fever -- caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes -- threatens 2.5 billion people each year and there is no vaccine or treatment. New research by Michigan State University entomologists has found that a bacterium ...

Dengue-resistant mosquitoes to be released next year

Oct 10, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Every year, dengue fever infects up to 100 million people and kills more than 20,000 of them. In an effort to reduce these numbers, scientists have infected mosquitoes with bacteria that makes ...

Recommended for you

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.