The effect of temperature on Wolbachia-mediated dengue virus blocking in Aedes aegypti

Authors: Yixin H Ye, Alison M Carrasco, Yi Dong, Carla M Sgrò and Elizabeth A McGraw

Published in: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, volume 94 issue 4 (April 2016)


Dengue fever, caused by dengue virus (DENV), is endemic in more than 100 countries. The lack of effective treatment of patients and the suboptimal efficacies of the tetravalent vaccine in trials highlight the urgent need to develop alternative strategies to lessen the burden of dengue fever.

Wolbachia pipientis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is being developed as a biocontrol strategy against dengue because it limits the replication of the DENV in the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti. However, several recent studies have demonstrated the sensitivity of pathogens, vectors, and their symbionts to temperature.

To understand how the tripartite interactions between the mosquito, DENV, and Wolbachia may change under different temperature regimes, we assessed the vector competence and transmission potential of DENV-infected mosquitoes reared at a common laboratory setting of a constant 25°C and at two diurnal temperature settings with mean of 25°C and 28°C and a fluctuating range of 8°C (±4°C).

Temperature significantly affected DENV infection rate in the mosquitoes. Furthermore, temperature significantly influenced the proportion of mosquitoes that achieved transmission potential as measured by the presence of virus in the saliva. Regardless of the temperature regimes, Wolbachia significantly and efficiently reduced the proportion of mosquitoes achieving infection and transmission potential across all the temperature regimes studied.

This work reinforces the robustness of the Wolbachia biocontrol strategy to field conditions in Cairns, Australia, and suggests that similar studies are required for local mosquito genotypes and field relevant temperatures for emerging field release sites globally.


Ye YH, Carrasco AM, Dong Y, Sgrò CM, McGraw EM (2016) The effect of temperature on Wolbachia-mediated dengue virus blocking in Aedes aegypti. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 94(4) 812‒819 PDF DOI