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Establishment and partial characterisation of a new cell line derived from adult tissues of the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans.

BACKGROUND: Insect cell lines play a vital role in many aspects of research on disease vectors and agricultural pests. The tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans is an important vector of salivarian trypanosomes in sub-Saharan Africa and, as such, is a major constraint on human health and agricultural development in the region.

METHODS: Here, we report establishment and partial characterisation of a cell line, GMA/LULS61, derived from tissues of adult female G. m. morsitans. GMA/LULS61 cells, grown at 28 °C in L-15 (Leibovitz) medium supplemented with foetal bovine serum and tryptose phosphate broth, have been taken through 23 passages to date and can be split 1:1 at 2-week intervals. Karyotyping at passage 17 revealed a predominantly haploid chromosome complement. Species origin and absence of contaminating bacteria were confirmed by PCR amplification and sequencing of fragments of the COI gene and pan-bacterial 16S rRNA gene respectively. However, PCR screening of RNA extracted from GMA/LULS61 cells confirmed presence of the recently described Glossina morsitans morsitans iflavirus and Glossina morsitans morsitans negevirus, but absence of Glossina pallipides salivary gland hypertrophy virus. GMA/LULS61 cells supported infection and growth of 6/7 different insect-derived strains of the intracellular bacterial symbiont Wolbachia.

CONCLUSIONS: The GMA/LULS61 cell line has potential for application in a variety of studies investigating the biology of G. m. morsitans and its associated pathogenic and symbiotic microorganisms.

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