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PLoS Pathog. 2011 Dec;7(12):e1002458. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002458. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Engineered anopheles immunity to Plasmodium infection.

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W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.


A causative agent of human malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. The malaria parasite is under intensive attack from the mosquito's innate immune system during its sporogonic development. We have used genetic engineering to create immune-enhanced Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes through blood meal-inducible expression of a transgene encoding the IMD pathway-controlled NF-kB Rel2 transcription factor in the midgut and fat-body tissue. Transgenic mosquitoes showed greater resistance to Plasmodium and microbial infection as a result of timely concerted tissue-specific immune attacks involving multiple effectors. The relatively weak impact of this genetic modification on mosquito fitness under laboratory conditions encourages further investigation of this approach for malaria control.

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