Background:Genetically modified mosquitoes have been proposed as an alternative strategy to reduce the heavy burden of malaria. In recent years, several proof-of-principle experiments have been performed that validate the idea that mosquitoes can be genetically modified to become refractory to malaria parasite development.Results:We have created two transgenic lines of Anopheles stephensi, a natural vector of Plasmodium falciparum, which constitutively secrete a catalytically inactive phospholipase A2 (mPLA2) into the midgut lumen to interfere with Plasmodium ookinete invasion. Our experiments show that both transgenic lines expressing mPLA2 significantly impair the development of rodent malaria parasites, but only one line impairs the development of human malaria parasites. In addition, when fed on malaria-infected blood, mosquitoes from both transgenic lines are more fecund than non-transgenic mosquitoes. Consistent with these observations, cage experiments with mixed populations of transgenic and non-transgenic mosquitoes show that the percentage of transgenic mosquitoes increases when maintained on Plasmodium-infected blood.Conclusions:Our results suggest that the expression of an anti-Plasmodium effector gene gives transgenic mosquitoes a fitness advantage when fed malaria-infected blood. These findings have important implications for future applications of transgenic mosquito technology in malaria control.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences