Acta Entomologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (7): 889-901.doi: 10.16380/j.kcxb.2020.07.012

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Research progress on Wolbachia endosymbionts in arthropods

ZHU Xiang-Yu1,2,3,#, YOU Shi-Jun1,2,3,#,*, LIU Tian-Sheng1,2,3, ZHANG Ling1,2,3, YOU Min-Sheng1,2,3    

  1. (1. State Key Laboratory of Ecological Pest Control for Fujian and Taiwan Crops, Institute of Applied Ecology, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China; 2. Joint International Research Laboratory of Ecological Pest Control, Ministry of Education, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China; 3. Key Laboratory of Integrated Pest Management for Fujian-Taiwan Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China)
  • Online:2020-07-20 Published:2020-07-29

Abstract: Wolbachia is maternally inherited endosymbionts that can expand their propagation in host populations by means of various manipulations. It is estimated that 40%-60% of arthropods are infected with Wolbachia, which can be divided into multiple supergroups based on the phylogenetic relationships among different strains. To facilitate further studying the Wolbachia-mediated manipulation of hosts and associated mechanisms and developing more effective Wolbachia-based biological control strategies, in this article we made a systematical review of the research progress on Wolbachia. Wolbachia was first identified in the reproductive tissue of Culex pipiens in 1924 and verified to be associated with cytoplasmic incompatibility of hosts in 1971. Wolbachia can manipulate host reproduction through cytoplasmic incompatibility, male-killing, feminization, and parthenogenesis. In addition to reproductive manipulation, Wolbachia also affects metabolism, pathogen resistance, and fertility of hosts. The cytoplasmic incompatibility induced by Wolbachia can be interpreted by the “modification-rescue” model, and some functional genes involved in cytoplasmic incompatibility have been reported. wMel is the first Wolbachia strain whose genome was published, and dozens of Wolbachia strains were genomically sequenced afterwards. The wMel strain can inhibit the transmission of dengue virus, and integration of Wolbachia strains with sterile technology has shown promising effects in controlling field populations of Aedes albopictus. In view of the research progress on Wolbachia, future studies are suggested to focus on the following aspects: (1) Wolbachia genome and functional genes involved in reproductive regulation; (2) host-Wolbachia interactions and associated mechanisms; (3) application of Wolbachia in biological control programs.

Key words: Arthropods; Wolbachia, reproductive manipulation, genome, function gene, biological control