Mosquito species, members of the genera Aedes, Anopheles and Culex, are the major vectors of human pathogens including protozoa (Plasmodium sp.), filariae and of a variety of viruses (causing dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, West Nile). There is lack of efficient methods and tools to treat many of the diseases caused by these major human pathogens, since no efficient vaccines or drugs are available; even in malaria where insecticide use and drug therapies have reduced incidence, 219 million cases still occurred in 2010. Therefore efforts are currently focused on the control of vector populations. Insecticides alone are insufficient to control mosquito populations since reduced susceptibility and even resistance is being observed more and more frequently. There is also increased concern about the toxic effects of insecticides on non-target (even beneficial) insect populations, on humans and the environment. During recent years, the role of symbionts in the biology, ecology and evolution of insect species has been well-documented and has led to suggestions that they could potentially be used as tools to control pests and therefore diseases. Wolbachia is perhaps the most renowned insect symbiont, mainly due to its ability to manipulate insect reproduction and to interfere with major human pathogens thus providing new avenues for pest control. We herein present recent achievements in the field of mosquito Wolbachia symbiosis with an emphasis on Aedes albopictus. We also discuss how Wolbachia symbiosis can be harnessed for vector control as well as the potential to combine the sterile insect technique and Wolbachia-based approaches for the enhancement of population suppression programs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Insect Science
- Infectious Diseases