Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti are perhaps the best studied mosquito species and important carriers of human malaria and arbovirus, respectively. Mosquitoes have daily rhythms in behaviors and show a wide range of activity patterns. Although Anopheles is known to be principally nocturnal and Aedes principally diurnal, details of mosquito activity are not easily assayed in the laboratory.
Only recently it was discovered that haemoglobin (Hb) belongs to the standard gene repertoire of insects, although their tracheal system is used for respiration. A classical oxygen-carrying function of Hb is only obvious for hexapods living in hypoxic environments.
Residents of malaria-endemic communities spend several hours outdoors performing different activities, e.g. cooking, story-telling or eating, thereby exposing themselves to potentially-infectious mosquitoes. This compromises effectiveness of indoor interventions, notably long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). This study characterized common peri-domestic spaces in rural south-eastern Tanzania, and assessed protective efficacy against mosquitoes of hessian fabric mats and ribbons treated with the spatial repellent, transfluthrin, and fitted to chairs and outdoor kitchens, respectively.
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.
Mosquitoes and other vectors are often exposed to sublethal doses of insecticides. Larvae can be exposed to the run-off of agricultural use, and adults can be irritated by insecticides used against them and move away before they have picked up a lethal dose. This sublethal exposure may affect the success of control of insect-borne diseases, for it may affect the competence of insects to transmit parasites, in particular if the insects are undernourished.
Malaria is one of the three most lethal infectious diseases. Unlike AIDS and tuberculosis, malaria is unique in that the parasite must complete a complex differentiation program in its mosquito vector for transmission to occur (1) (Fig. 1). Despite significant progress made in the last couple of decades, our mechanistic understanding of how the parasite develops in the mosquito is incomplete.
Mosquitoes transmit pathogens that kill >700,000 people annually. These insects use body heat to locate and feed on warm-blooded hosts, but the molecular basis of such behavior is unknown. Here, we identify ionotropic receptor IR21a, a receptor conserved throughout insects, as a key mediator of heat seeking in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.
A good understanding of mosquito ecology is imperative for integrated vector control of malaria. In breeding sites, Anopheles larvae are concurrently exposed to predators and parasites. However, to our knowledge, there is no study on combined effects of predators and parasites on development and survival of larvae and their carry-over effects on adult survivorship and susceptibility to further parasite infection.
The association between irrigation and the proliferation of adult mosquitoes including malaria vectors is well known; however, irrigation schemes are treated as homogenous spatio-temporal units, with little consideration for how larval breeding varies across space and time. The objective of this study was to estimate the spatio-temporal distribution of pools of water facilitating breeding at the Bwanje Valley Irrigation Scheme (BVIS) in Malawi, Africa as a function of environmental and anthropogenic characteristics.
The blood-feeding behavior of Anopheles females delivers essential nutrients for egg development and drives parasite transmission between humans. Plasmodium growth is adapted to the vector reproductive cycle, but how changes in the reproductive cycle impact parasite development remains unclear. Here, we show that the bloodmeal-induced miR-276-5p fine-tunes the expression of branched-chain amino acid transferase to terminate the reproductive cycle.