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The wMelPop strain of Wolbachia interferes with dopamine levels in Aedes aegypti

Luciano A Moreira12, Yixin H Ye1, Karly Turner3, Darryl W Eyles3, Elizabeth A McGraw1 and Scott L O'Neill1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld 4072, Australia

2 René Rachou Research Institute- FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte MG 30190, Brazil

3 Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane Qld 4072, Australia

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:28  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-28

Published: 28 February 2011


Wolbachia is an intracellular bacterium that has been stably transinfected into the mosquito vector of dengue, Aedes aegypti. This inherited infection causes a range of metabolic and phenotypic alterations in the mosquito, which might be related to neuronal abnormalities. In order to determine if these alterations were caused by the manipulation of neuroamines by this bacterium, we studied the expression of genes involved in the dopamine biosynthetic pathway and also measured the amount of dopamine in infected and uninfected mosquitoes of different ages. Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes exhibit greater expression of some genes related to the melanization pathway, but not for those directly linked to dopamine production. Although dopamine levels were higher in Wolbachia-positive mosquitoes this was not consistent across all insect ages nor was it related to the previously described Wolbachia induced "bendy" and "shaky" phenotypes.