Strain-specific response to ampicillin in Wolbachia-infected mosquito cell lines

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Wolbachia pipientis (Rickettsiales; Anaplasmataceae) is an obligate intracellular alpha proteobacterium that occurs in arthropods and filarial worms. Some strains of Wolbachia can be maintained as persistent infections in insect cell lines. C/wStr1 cells from the mosquito Aedes albopictus maintain a robust infection with Wolbachia strain wStr, originally isolated from the planthopper, Laodelphax striatellus. To explore possible functions of penicillin-binding proteins expressed from the wStr genome, C/wStr1 cells were exposed to ampicillin. Absolute levels of Wolbachia increased 3.5-fold in ampicillin-treated cells and fivefold in naive cells newly infected with wStr. Because cell numbers were depressed by ampicillin treatment, Wolbachia yield on a per-cell basis increased by 15-fold. The absence of a similar effect on wAlbB in Aa23 host cells suggests that the Wolbachia strain, the presence/absence of genes encoding penicillin-binding proteins, or the interaction between wAlbB and its host cells may modulate the effects of ampicillin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-588
Number of pages9
JournalIn Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This work was supported by NIH grant AI081322 and by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, St. Paul, MN.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Society for In Vitro Biology.


  • Alpha proteobacteria
  • Flow cytometry
  • Intracellular bacteria
  • Mosquito cell lines
  • Symbiont
  • β-Lactamase


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