Wolbachia are highly successful endosymbiotic bacteria that grow in arthropods and nematode hosts. As an example of their success, they are found in a majority of all insect species. Wolbachia (pictured here in red) reside in the germ cells of nematodes (nuclei pictured in blue and cell outlines in green). Here researchers have developed an assay for anti-Wolbachia compounds to combat filarial nematode-based tropical diseases such as elephantiasis—the worms cannot survive long enough to cause disease if Wolbachia are removed from them. This strategy is in contrast to that used to combat insect-transmitted viral diseases such as Dengue fever where Wolbachia are encouraged to grow since they prevent the growth of the harmful viruses in their mosquito hosts.
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Two different DNA stains were used to differentiate between Wolbachia DNA (in red) and nematode DNA (in blue) with actin staining for cell outlines in green. The image was produced using confocal laser scanning microscopy.
Laura Chappell, PhD and William Sullivan, PhD Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California Santa Cruz.