In 2012, an unusual outbreak of urban malaria was reported from Djibouti City in the Horn of Africa and increasingly severe outbreaks have been reported annually ever since. Subsequent investigations discovered the presence of an Asian mosquito species; Anopheles stephensi, a species known to thrive in urban environments. Since that first report, An. stephensi has been identified in Ethiopia and Sudan, and this worrying development has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish a vector alert calling for active mosquito surveillance in the region.
To understand the dynamics of malaria transmission, membrane feeding assays with glass feeders are used to assess the transmission potential of malaria infected individuals to mosquitoes. However, in some circumstances, use of these assays is hindered by both the blood volume requirement and the availability of fragile, specially crafted glass feeders. 3D printed plastic feeders that require very small volumes of blood would thus expand the utility of membrane feeding assays.
Models predicting disease transmission are vital tools for long-term planning of malaria reduction efforts, particularly for mitigating impacts of climate change. We compared temperature-dependent malaria transmission models when mosquito life-history traits were estimated from a truncated portion of the lifespan (a common practice) versus traits measured across the full lifespan.
While Iran is on the path to eliminating malaria, the disease with 4.9 million estimated cases and 9300 estimated deaths in 2018 remains a serious health problem in the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region. Anopheles stephensi is the main malaria vector in Iran and its range extends from Iraq to western China. Recently, the vector invaded new territories in Sri Lanka and countries in the Horn of Africa. Insecticide resistance in An. stephensi is a potential issue in controlling the spread of this vector.
The mosquito's immune blood cells, 'hemocytes' imparts a highly selective immune response against various micro-organisms/pathogens. Among several immune effectors, FREPs (Fibrinogen related proteins) have been recognized as key modulator of cellular immune responses; however, their physiological relevance has not been investigated in detail. Our ongoing comparative RNA-Seq analysis identified a total of 13 FREPs originating from naïve sugar-fed, blood-fed, bacterial challenged, and Plasmodium vivax-infected hemocytes in the mosquito Anopheles stephensi hemocytes.
Sugar-feeding provides energy for mosquitoes. Facilitated glucose transporters (GLUTs) are responsible for the uptake of glucose in animals. However, knowledge of GLUTs function in Anopheles spp. is limited.
The movement of malaria vectors into new areas is a growing concern in the efforts to control malaria. The recent report of Anopheles stephensi in eastern Ethiopia has raised the necessity to understand the insecticide resistance status of the vector in the region to better inform vector-based interventions. The aim of this study was to evaluate insecticide resistance in An. stephensi in eastern Ethiopia using two approaches: (1) World Health Organization (WHO) bioassay tests in An. stephensi; and (2) genetic analysis of insecticide resistance genes in An. stephensi in eastern Ethiopia.
Innovative tools are essential for advancing malaria control and depend on an understanding of molecular mechanisms governing transmission of malaria parasites by Anopheles mosquitoes. CRISPR/Cas9-based gene disruption is a powerful method to uncover underlying biology of vector-pathogen interactions and can itself form the basis of mosquito control strategies. However, embryo injection methods used to genetically manipulate mosquitoes (especially Anopheles) are difficult and inefficient, particularly for non-specialist laboratories.
According to the World Health Organization reports, billions of people around the world are at risk for malaria disease and it is important to consider the preventive strategies for protecting the people that are living in high risk areas. One of the main reasons of disease survival is diversity of vectors and parasites in different malaria regions that have their specific features, behaviour and biology. Therefore, specific regional strategies are necessary for successful control of malaria. One of the tools that needs to be developed for elimination and prevention of reintroduction of malaria is a vaccine that interrupt malaria transmission (VIMTs). VIMT is a broad concept that should be adjusted to the biological characteristics of the disease in each region. One type of VIMT is a vector-based vaccine that affects the sexual stage of Plasmodium life cycle. According to recent studies, the aminopeptidase N-1 of Anopheles gambiae (AgAPN-1) is as a potent vector-based VIMT with considerable inhibition activity against the sexual stage of Plasmodium parasite.
CRISPR/Cas9 technology is a powerful tool for the design of gene-drive systems to control and/or modify mosquito vector populations; however, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated nonhomologous end joining mutations can have an important impact on generating alleles resistant to the drive and thus on drive efficiency. We demonstrate and compare the insertions or deletions (indels) detection capabilities of two techniques in the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles stephensi: