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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 4;107(18):8111-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003056107. Epub 2010 Apr 12.

Blocking of Plasmodium transmission by cooperative action of Cecropin A and Defensin A in transgenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.

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  • 1Department of Entomology and Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.


To overcome burden of mosquito-borne diseases, multiple control strategies are needed. Population replacement with genetically modified mosquitoes carrying antipathogen effector genes is one of the possible approaches for controlling disease transmission. However, transgenic mosquitoes with antipathogen phenotypes based on overexpression of a single type effector molecule are not efficient in interrupting pathogen transmission. Here, we show that co-overexpression of two antimicrobial peptides (AMP), Cecropin A, and Defensin A, in transgenic Aedes aegypti mosquitoes results in the cooperative antibacterial and antiPlasmodium action of these AMPs. The transgenic hybrid mosquitoes that overexpressed both Cecropin A and Defensin A under the control of the vitellogenin promoter exhibited an elevated resistance to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, indicating that these AMPs acted cooperatively against this pathogenic bacterium. In these mosquitoes infected with P. gallinaceum, the number of oocysts was dramatically reduced in midguts, and no sporozoites were found in their salivary glands when the mosquitoes were fed twice to reactivate transgenic AMP production. Infection experiments using the transgenic hybrid mosquitoes, followed by sequential feeding on naive chicken, and then naive wild-type mosquitoes showed that the Plasmodium transmission was completely blocked. This study suggests an approach in generating transgenic mosquitoes with antiPlasmodium refractory phenotype, which is coexpression of two or more effector molecules with cooperative action on the parasite.

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