Proteomic analysis of a mosquito host cell response to persistent Wolbachia infection

Gerald Baldridge, Lee Ann Higgins, Bruce Witthuhn, Todd Markowski, Abigail Baldridge, Anibal Armien, Ann Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Wolbachia pipientis, an obligate intracellular bacterium associated with arthropods and filarial worms, is a target for filarial disease treatment and provides a gene drive agent for insect vector population suppression/replacement. We compared proteomes of Aedes albopictus mosquito C/wStr1 cells persistently infected with Wolbachia strain wStr, relative to uninfected C7-10 control cells. Among approximately 2500 proteins, iTRAQ data identified 815 differentially abundant proteins. As functional classes, energy and central intermediary metabolism proteins were elevated in infected cells, while suppressed proteins with roles in host DNA replication, transcription and translation suggested that Wolbachia suppresses pathways that support host cell growth and proliferation. Vacuolar ATPase subunits were strongly elevated, consistent with high densities of Wolbachia contained individually within vacuoles. Other differential level proteins had roles in ROS neutralization, protein modification/degradation and signaling, including hypothetical proteins whose functions in Wolbachia infection can potentially be manipulated by RNAi interference or transfection. Detection of flavivirus proteins supports further analysis of poorly understood, insect-specific flaviviruses and their potential interactions with Wolbachia, particularly in mosquitoes transinfected with Wolbachia. This study provides a framework for future attempts to manipulate pathways in insect cell lines that favor production of Wolbachia for eventual genetic manipulation, transformation and transinfection of vector species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-625
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grant 5 R01 AI 081322 from the National Institutes of Health and by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station , St. Paul, MN.


  • Aedes albopictus
  • Flavivirus
  • Intracellular bacterium
  • Mosquito cell lines
  • Transinfection
  • Wolbachia pipientis

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