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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
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Disease relevance of Wolbachia


High impact information on Wolbachia

  • Molecular phylogenetic analysis of the bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA gene, isolated by PCR, showed a close relationship to the rickettsial Wolbachia endobacteria of arthropods and to other filarial intracellular bacteria [6].
  • Blood from all three patients with severe adverse reactions and from one of six with moderate reactions was positive for Wolbachia DNA 4-48 h after diethylcarbamazine treatment [7].
  • Treatment of D. v. virgifera with tetracycline eliminated the Wolbachia and removed the reproductive incompatibility [8].
  • The major surface protein of Wolbachia endosymbionts in filarial nematodes elicits immune responses through TLR2 and TLR4 [9].
  • This T cell response was not due to LPS activity from the parasite or from its endosymbiont, Wolbachia; moreover, it required the presence of APC as well as direct contact with live L3 [10].

Chemical compound and disease context of Wolbachia

  • The following three buffers were compared for their abilities to maintain an appropriate in vitro environment for Wolbachia during homogenization and injection: phosphate-buffered saline, Drosophila Ringer's buffer, and a sucrose-phosphate-glutamate solution (SPG buffer) [11].
  • Repeated, long-term treatment with oxytetracycline has been shown to be macrofilaricidal and the effect is hypothesized to be related to action on Wolbachia endobacteria, abundant in O. ochengi [12].
  • To examine the role that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-like molecules from the filarial intracellular endobacteria Wolbachia might play in the development of filarial infections, a natural infection in the LPS-nonresponsive C3H/HeJ mouse strain was compared to that of the LPS-responsive C3H/HeN mouse strain [13].
  • Antibiotics and Wolbachia in filarial nematodes: antifilarial activity of rifampicin, oxytetracycline and chloramphenicol against Onchocerca gutturosa, Onchocerca lienalis and Brugia pahangi [14].
  • Electron microscopy (EM) showed that the Tets, Rif, and Azith cleared Wolbachia spp. from adult worms and damaged developing embryos [15].

Biological context of Wolbachia

  • Molecular evolution and phylogenetic utility of Wolbachia ftsZ and wsp gene sequences with special reference to the origin of male-killing [16].
  • The mh phenotype is highly reminiscent of the early developmental defects observed in eggs fertilized by ms(3)K81 mutant males and in eggs produced in incompatible crosses of Drosophila harboring the endosymbiont bacteria Wolbachia [17].
  • A fine-scale phylogenetic analysis was done using DNA sequences from ftsZ, a rapidly evolving bacterial cell-cycle gene. ftsZ sequences were determined for 38 different Wolbachia strains from 31 different species of insects and one isopod [18].
  • In addition, 16S rRNA, wsp and ftsZ gene sequences were generated for the Wolbachia of several filarial species, in order to complete the available data sets and further resolve the phylogeny of Wolbachia in nematodes [19].
  • We obtained DNA sequences from the ftsZ gene for the group B Wolbachia found in six leaf-mining species and one of their parasitoids, as well as four of the Lepidoptera caught by a light trap [20].

Anatomical context of Wolbachia


Gene context of Wolbachia

  • We therefore hypothesized that protective immunity to O. volvulus would not develop in C3H/HeJ mice which have a mutation in the Tlr4 gene (TLR4 mutant), either because of a decreased Th2 response to the larvae or because of the absence of a response to Wolbachia [24].
  • Antibody response indicates that Wolbachia may induce preferentially a Th1 response during filarial infection, while nematode antigens may be involved in Th2 response [25].
  • The sequences of only three genes have been published for nematode Wolbachia (i.e., the genes coding for the proteins FtsZ and catalase and for 16S rRNA) [26].
  • Specific antibodies to the Wolbachia protein WSPr were exclusively IgG2a, while antibodies against peptides derived from antigens of D. immitis were in the IgG1 and IgE subclasses [25].
  • A detailed assessment of the evolution and phylogenetic utility of two genes, ftsZ and wsp, was used to investigate the origin of male-killing Wolbachia, previously isolated from the ladybird Adalia bipunctata and the butterfly Acraea encedon [16].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Wolbachia

  • Further, sequence analysis of the Wolbachia ftsZ gene and an internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region in two of these strains displayed no nucleotide variation or evidence of polymorphisms [27].


  1. Depletion of wolbachia endobacteria in Onchocerca volvulus by doxycycline and microfilaridermia after ivermectin treatment. Hoerauf, A., Mand, S., Adjei, O., Fleischer, B., Büttner, D.W. Lancet (2001) [Pubmed]
  2. Host-symbiont conflicts: positive selection on an outer membrane protein of parasitic but not mutualistic Rickettsiaceae. Jiggins, F.M., Hurst, G.D., Yang, Z. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2002) [Pubmed]
  3. Ultrastructural and molecular identification of a Wolbachia endosymbiont in a spider, Nephila clavata. Oh, H.W., Kim, M.G., Shin, S.W., Bae, K.S., Ahn, Y.J., Park, H.Y. Insect Mol. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  4. RNA polymerase beta-subunit-based phylogeny of Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., Neorickettsia spp. and Wolbachia pipientis. Taillardat-Bisch, A.V., Raoult, D., Drancourt, M. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  5. Brugia pahangi and Wolbachia: the kinetics of bacteria elimination, worm viability, and host responses following tetracycline treatment. Chirgwin, S.R., Nowling, J.M., Coleman, S.U., Klei, T.R. Exp. Parasitol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. Tetracycline therapy targets intracellular bacteria in the filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis and results in filarial infertility. Hoerauf, A., Nissen-Pähle, K., Schmetz, C., Henkle-Dührsen, K., Blaxter, M.L., Büttner, D.W., Gallin, M.Y., Al-Qaoud, K.M., Lucius, R., Fleischer, B. J. Clin. Invest. (1999) [Pubmed]
  7. Severe reactions to filarial chemotherapy and release of Wolbachia endosymbionts into blood. Cross, H.F., Haarbrink, M., Egerton, G., Yazdanbakhsh, M., Taylor, M.J. Lancet (2001) [Pubmed]
  8. The role of Wolbachia bacteria in reproductive incompatibilities and hybrid zones of Diabrotica beetles and Gryllus crickets. Giordano, R., Jackson, J.J., Robertson, H.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1997) [Pubmed]
  9. The major surface protein of Wolbachia endosymbionts in filarial nematodes elicits immune responses through TLR2 and TLR4. Brattig, N.W., Bazzocchi, C., Kirschning, C.J., Reiling, N., Büttner, D.W., Ceciliani, F., Geisinger, F., Hochrein, H., Ernst, M., Wagner, H., Bandi, C., Hoerauf, A. J. Immunol. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Proinflammatory cytokines dominate the early immune response to filarial parasites. Babu, S., Nutman, T.B. J. Immunol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  11. Characterization of Wolbachia transfection efficiency by using microinjection of embryonic cytoplasm and embryo homogenate. Xi, Z., Dobson, S.L. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  12. Onchocerca ochengi infections in cattle as a model for human onchocerciasis: recent developments. Trees, A.J., Graham, S.P., Renz, A., Bianco, A.E., Tanya, V. Parasitology (2000) [Pubmed]
  13. Involvement of Toll-like receptor 4 in the embryogenesis of the rodent filaria Litomosoides sigmodontis. Pfarr, K.M., Fischer, K., Hoerauf, A. Med. Microbiol. Immunol. (Berl.) (2003) [Pubmed]
  14. Antibiotics and Wolbachia in filarial nematodes: antifilarial activity of rifampicin, oxytetracycline and chloramphenicol against Onchocerca gutturosa, Onchocerca lienalis and Brugia pahangi. Townson, S., Hutton, D., Siemienska, J., Hollick, L., Scanlon, T., Tagboto, S.K., Taylor, M.J. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  15. In vitro effects of antibiotics on Brugia malayi worm survival and reproduction. Rao, R., Well, G.J. J. Parasitol. (2002) [Pubmed]
  16. Molecular evolution and phylogenetic utility of Wolbachia ftsZ and wsp gene sequences with special reference to the origin of male-killing. Schulenburg, J.H., Hurst, G.D., Huigens, T.M., van Meer, M.M., Jiggins, F.M., Majerus, M.E. Mol. Biol. Evol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  17. Paternal chromosome incorporation into the zygote nucleus is controlled by maternal haploid in Drosophila. Loppin, B., Berger, F., Couble, P. Dev. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  18. Evolution and phylogeny of Wolbachia: reproductive parasites of arthropods. Werren, J.H., Zhang, W., Guo, L.R. Proc. Biol. Sci. (1995) [Pubmed]
  19. A phylogenetic analysis of filarial nematodes: comparison with the phylogeny of Wolbachia endosymbionts. Casiraghi, M., Anderson, T.J., Bandi, C., Bazzocchi, C., Genchi, C. Parasitology (2001) [Pubmed]
  20. Wolbachia in two insect host-parasitoid communities. West, S.A., Cook, J.M., Werren, J.H., Godfray, H.C. Mol. Ecol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  21. Wolbachia-mediated sperm modification is dependent on the host genotype in Drosophila. McGraw, E.A., Merritt, D.J., Droller, J.N., O'Neill, S.L. Proc. Biol. Sci. (2001) [Pubmed]
  22. Lipopolysaccharide-like molecules derived from Wolbachia endobacteria of the filaria Onchocerca volvulus are candidate mediators in the sequence of inflammatory and antiinflammatory responses of human monocytes. Brattig, N.W., Rathjens, U., Ernst, M., Geisinger, F., Renz, A., Tischendorf, F.W. Microbes Infect. (2000) [Pubmed]
  23. Wolbachia genomes: revealing the biology of parasitism and mutualism. Fenn, K., Blaxter, M. Trends Parasitol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  24. Protective immunity to the larval stages of onchocerca volvulus is dependent on Toll-like receptor 4. Kerepesi, L.A., Leon, O., Lustigman, S., Abraham, D. Infect. Immun. (2005) [Pubmed]
  25. Th1 response in BALB/c mice immunized with Dirofilaria immitis soluble antigens: a possible role for Wolbachia? Marcos-Atxutegi, C., Kramer, L.H., Fernandez, I., Simoncini, L., Genchi, M., Prieto, G., Simón, F. Vet. Parasitol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  26. wsp gene sequences from the Wolbachia of filarial nematodes. Bazzocchi, C., Jamnongluk, W., O'Neill, S.L., Anderson, T.J., Genchi, C., Bandi, C. Curr. Microbiol. (2000) [Pubmed]
  27. Molecular evidence for single Wolbachia infections among geographic strains of the flour beetle Tribolium confusum. Fialho, R.F., Stevens, L. Proc. Biol. Sci. (1997) [Pubmed]
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