Conditions facilitating infection of mosquito cell lines with Wolbachia, an obligate intracellular bacterium

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Factors that influence establishment of Wolbachia, an obligate intracellular bacterium, in novel insect hosts or uninfected insect cell lines are poorly understood. Infectivity of Wolbachia strain wStr was correlated with flow cytometric profiles to define optimal conditions for harvesting an infectious inoculum. Wolbachia recovered from the cell culture supernatant after gentle pipetting of infected cells represented about 1% of the total bacterial population and were more infectious than Wolbachia that remained associated with intact cells and/or membranes after low-speed centrifugation. Optimal establishment of a robust infection in naïve cells required 6 d, at a ratio of 80 to 160 bacteria per cell. Among Aedes albopictus mosquito cell lines, an aneuploid line with a 4n + 1 karyotype was more susceptible to infection than diploid lines. These findings contribute to the in vitro manipulation of Wolbachia, illustrate some of the many factors that influence infectivity, and identify areas for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This work was supported by NIH grant AI 081322 and by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Society for In Vitro Biology.


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Flow cytometry
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Laodelphax striatellus
  • Mosquito cell lines
  • Transinfection
  • Wolbachia

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