Wolbachia: more than just a bug in insects genitals
Research on the intracellular bacterial symbiont Wolbachia has grown on many levels, providing interesting insights on various aspects of the microbe's biology. Although data from fully sequenced genomes of different Wolbachia strains and from experimental studies of host-microbe interactions continue to arise, most of the molecular mechanisms employed by Wolbachia to manipulate the host cytoplasmic machinery and to ensure vertical transmission are yet to be discovered. Apart from the well-established role of Wolbachia in triggering reproductive alterations, a new fascinating aspect is emerging, related to the ecological benefits that the symbiont provides to the host. The mutualistic relationship of Wolbachia strains with disease vectors remains among the top research priorities with new insights having an impact on putative anti-filarial strategies. ?? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.