Besides feeding on blood, females of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae sensu lato readily feed on natural sources of plant sugars. The impact of toxic secondary phytochemicals contained in plant-derived sugars on mosquito physiology and the development of Plasmodium parasites remains elusive. The focus of this study was to explore the influence of the alkaloid ricinine, found in the nectar of the castor bean Ricinus communis, on the ability of mosquitoes to transmit Plasmodium falciparum.
A vertically transmitted microsporidian, Microsporidia MB, with the ability to disrupt Plasmodium development was reported in Anopheles arabiensis from Kenya, East Africa. To demonstrate its range of incidence, archived DNA samples from 7575 Anopheles mosquitoes collected from Ghana were screened. MB prevalence was observed at 1.8%. An. gambiae s.s constituted 87% of positive mosquitoes while the remaining were from An. coluzzii.
The emergence of insecticide resistance is a major threat to malaria control programmes in Africa, with many different factors contributing to insecticide resistance in its vectors, Anopheles mosquitoes. CYP6M2 has previously been recognized as an important candidate in cytochrome P450-mediated detoxification in Anopheles. As it has been implicated in resistance against pyrethroids, organochlorines and carbamates, its broad metabolic activity makes it a potential agent in insecticide cross-resistance. Currently, allelic variation within the Cyp6m2 gene remains unknown.
Mosquito species from the Anopheles gambiae complex and the Anopheles funestus group are dominant African malaria vectors. Mosquito microbiota play vital roles in physiology and vector competence. Recent research has focused on investigating the mosquito microbiota, especially in wild populations. Wild mosquitoes are preserved and transported to a laboratory for analyses. Thus far, microbial characterization post-preservation has been investigated in only Aedes vexans and Culex pipiens. Investigating the efficacy of cost-effective preservatives has also been limited to AllProtect reagent, ethanol and nucleic acid preservation buffer. This study characterized the microbiota of African Anopheles vectors: Anopheles arabiensis (member of the An. gambiae complex) and An. funestus (member of the An. funestus group), preserved on silica desiccant and RNAlater® solution.
Malaria persists as a huge medical and economic burden. Although the number of cases and death rates have reduced in recent years, novel interventions are a necessity if such gains are to be maintained. Alternative methods to target mosquito vector populations that involve the release of large numbers genetically modified mosquitoes are in development. However, their successful introduction will require innovative strategies to bulk-up mosquito numbers and improve mass rearing protocols for Anopheles mosquitoes.
The increase in molecular tools for the genetic engineering of insect pests and disease vectors, such as Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria, has led to an unprecedented investigation of the genomic landscape of these organisms. The understanding of genome variability in wild mosquito populations is of primary importance for vector control strategies. This is particularly the case for gene drive systems, which look to introduce genetic traits into a population by targeting specific genomic regions. Gene drive targets with functional or structural constraints are highly desirable as they are less likely to tolerate mutations that prevent targeting by the gene drive and consequent failure of the technology.
The sibling species of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae (sensu stricto) and Anopheles coluzzii co-exist in many parts of West Africa and are thought to have recently diverged through a process of ecological speciation with gene flow. Divergent larval ecological adaptations, resulting in Genotype-by-Environment (G × E) interactions, have been proposed as important drivers of speciation in these species. In West Africa, An. coluzzii tends to be associated with permanent man-made larval habitats such as irrigated rice fields, which are typically more eutrophic and mineral and ammonia-rich than the temporary rain pools exploited by An. gambiae (s.s.)
N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) topical mosquito repellents are effective personal protection tools. However, DEET-based repellents tend to have low consumer acceptability because they are cosmetically unappealing. More attractive formulations are needed to encourage regular user compliance. This study evaluated the protective efficacy and protection duration of a new topical repellent ointment containing 15% DEET, MAÏA® compared to 20% DEET in ethanol using malaria and dengue mosquito vectors in Bagamoyo Tanzania.
During their life cycles, microbes infecting mosquitoes encounter components of the mosquito anti-microbial innate immune defenses. Many of these immune responses also mediate susceptibility to malaria parasite infection. In West Africa, the primary malaria vectors are Anopheles coluzzii and A. gambiae sensu stricto, which is subdivided into the Bamako and Savanna sub-taxa. Here, we performed whole genome comparisons of the three taxa as well as genotyping of 333 putatively functional SNPs located in 58 immune signaling genes.
Anopheles mosquitoes have transmitted Plasmodium parasites for millions of years, yet it remains unclear whether they suffer fitness costs to infection. Here we report that the fecundity of virgin and mated females of two important vectors-Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles stephensi-is not affected by infection with Plasmodium falciparum, demonstrating that these human malaria parasites do not inflict this reproductive cost on their natural mosquito hosts.