Background: Wolbachia is the most common endosymbiotic bacteria in insect-borne parasites and it is the most common reproductive parasite in the world. Wolbachia has been found worldwide in numerous arthropod and parasite species, including: insects, terrestrial isopods, spiders, mites and filarial nematodes. There is a complicated relationship between Wolbachia and its hosts and in some cases, they create a mutual relationship instead of a parasitic relationship. Some species are not able to reproduce in the absence of infection with Wolbachia. Thus, use of existing strains of Wolbachia bacteria offers a potential strategy for control the population of mosquitoes and other pests and diseases.
Methods: We searched ten databases and reviewed published papers regarding the role of Wolbachia as promising drug target and emerging biological control agent of parasitic diseases between 1996 and 2017 (22 years) were considered eligible. Also, in the current study several patents (WO008652), (US7723062), (US 0345249 A1) were reviewed.
Results: Endosymbiotic Wolbachia bacteria, which is inherited from mothers, is transmitted to mosquitoes and interfere with pathogen transmission. They can change the reproduction of their host. Wolbachia is transmitted through the cytoplasm of eggs and have evolved different mechanisms for manipulating reproduction of its hosts, including induction of reproductive incompatibility, parthenogenesis, and feminization. Wolbachia extensive effects on reproduction and host fitness have made Wolbachia the issue of growing attention as a potential biocontrol agent.
Conclusion: Wolbachia has opened a new window to design costly, potent and eco-friendly for effective treatment and elimination of vector-borne parasitic diseases.