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Wolbachia in a major African crop pest increases susceptibility to viral disease rather than protects

Wolbachia in a major African crop pest increases susceptibility to viral disease rather than protects

Graham, Robert I., Grzywacz, David, Mushobozi, Wilfred L. and Wilson, Kenneth (2012) Wolbachia in a major African crop pest increases susceptibility to viral disease rather than protects. Ecology Letters, 15 (9). pp. 993-1000. ISSN 1461-023X (Print), 1461-0248 (Online) (doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01820.x)

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Abstract

Wolbachia are common vertically transmitted endosymbiotic bacteria found in < 70% of insect species. They have generated considerable recent interest due to the capacity of some strains to protect their insect hosts against viruses and the potential for this to reduce vector competence of a range of human diseases, including dengue. In contrast, here we provide data from field populations of a major crop pest, African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta), which show that the prevalence and intensity of infection with a nucleopolydrovirus (SpexNPV) is positively associated with infection with three strains of Wolbachia. We also use laboratory bioassays to demonstrate that infection with one of these strains, a male-killer, increases host mortality due to SpexNPV by 6–14 times. These findings suggest that rather than protecting their lepidopteran host from viral infection, Wolbachia instead make them more susceptible. This finding potentially has implications for the biological control of other insect crop pests.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] SUPPORTING INFORMATION: Additional Supporting Information may be downloaded via the online version of this article at Wiley Online Library (www.ecologyletters.com). [2] Ecology Letters is published on behalf of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
Uncontrolled Keywords: African armyworm, arthropod, baculovirus, insect outbreak, male-killing, nucleopolyhedrovirus, parasite, Spodoptera, symbiosis, Wolbachia
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2016 18:00
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/8744

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