Age influences the thermal suitability of Plasmodium falciparum transmission in the Asian malaria vector Anopheles stephensi.
ABSTRACT: 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. We conducted an experiment on adult female Anopheles stephensi, the Asian urban malaria mosquito, to generate daily per capita values for mortality, egg production and biting rate at six constant temperatures. Both temperature and age significantly affected trait values. Further, we found quantitative and qualitative differences between temperature-trait relationships estimated from truncated data versus observed lifetime values. Incorporating these temperature-trait relationships into an expression governing the thermal suitability of transmission, relative R0(T), resulted in minor differences in the breadth of suitable temperatures for Plasmodium falciparum transmission between the two models constructed from only An. stephensi trait data. However, we found a substantial increase in thermal niche breadth compared with a previously published model consisting of trait data from multiple Anopheles mosquito species. Overall, this work highlights the importance of considering how mosquito trait values vary with mosquito age and mosquito species when generating temperature-based suitability predictions of transmission.
Project description:Several studies suggest the potential for climate change to increase malaria incidence in cooler, marginal transmission environments. However, the effect of increasing temperature in warmer regions where conditions currently support endemic transmission has received less attention. We investigate how increases in temperature from optimal conditions (27?°C to 30?°C and 33?°C) interact with realistic diurnal temperature ranges (DTR:?±?0?°C, 3?°C, and 4.5?°C) to affect the ability of key vector species from Africa and Asia (Anopheles gambiae and An. stephensi) to transmit the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. The effects of increasing temperature and DTR on parasite prevalence, parasite intensity, and mosquito mortality decreased overall vectorial capacity for both mosquito species. Increases of 3?°C from 27?°C reduced vectorial capacity by 51-89% depending on species and DTR, with increases in DTR alone potentially halving transmission. At 33?°C, transmission potential was further reduced for An. stephensi and blocked completely in An. gambiae. These results suggest that small shifts in temperature could play a substantial role in malaria transmission dynamics, yet few empirical or modeling studies consider such effects. They further suggest that rather than increase risk, current and future warming could reduce transmission potential in existing high transmission settings.
Project description:Suitability of environmental conditions determines a species distribution in space and time. Understanding and modelling the ecological niche of mosquito disease vectors can, therefore, be a powerful predictor of the risk of exposure to the pathogens they transmit. In Africa, five anophelines are responsible for over 95% of total malaria transmission. However, detailed knowledge of the geographic distribution and ecological requirements of these species is to date still inadequate.Indoor-resting mosquitoes were sampled from 386 villages covering the full range of ecological settings available in Cameroon, Central Africa. Using a predictive species distribution modeling approach based only on presence records, habitat suitability maps were constructed for the five major malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles funestus, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles nili and Anopheles moucheti. The influence of 17 climatic, topographic, and land use variables on mosquito geographic distribution was assessed by multivariate regression and ordination techniques.Twenty-four anopheline species were collected, of which 17 are known to transmit malaria in Africa. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, Habitat Suitability modeling and Canonical Correspondence Analysis revealed marked differences among the five major malaria vector species, both in terms of ecological requirements and niche breadth. Eco-geographical variables (EGVs) related to human activity had the highest impact on habitat suitability for the five major malaria vectors, with areas of low population density being of marginal or unsuitable habitat quality. Sunlight exposure, rainfall, evapo-transpiration, relative humidity, and wind speed were among the most discriminative EGVs separating "forest" from "savanna" species.The distribution of major malaria vectors in Cameroon is strongly affected by the impact of humans on the environment, with variables related to proximity to human settings being among the best predictors of habitat suitability. The ecologically more tolerant species An. gambiae and An. funestus were recorded in a wide range of eco-climatic settings. The other three major vectors, An. arabiensis, An. moucheti, and An. nili, were more specialized. Ecological niche and species distribution modelling should help improve malaria vector control interventions by targeting places and times where the impact on vector populations and disease transmission can be optimized.
Project description:The major malaria vector in Sri Lanka is reported to be Anopheles culicifacies with Anopheles subpictus, Anopheles annularis, and Anopheles varuna considered as potential vectors. The occurrence of Anopheles stephensi, which is the key vector of urban malaria in India and the Middle East, had never been reported from Sri Lanka.A series of entomological investigations were carried out by the Anti Malaria Campaign, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka during December 2016 to April 2017 in two localities of the Mannar District in the Northern Province of the country. Adult mosquito collections were done through indoor and outdoor resting collections, animal and human biting collections and emergence traps. Potential mosquito breeding sites were investigated through larval surveys. The larvae and adults of An. stephensi were initially identified using morphological keys, and subsequently confirmed by sequencing the barcode region of the cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) gene.This is the first report of the presence of An. stephensi in the island of Mannar in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Anopheles stephensi (36.65%) was the most abundant anopheline species in the larval habitats in Mannar. It was found breeding together with An. culicifacies (20.7%), An. subpictus (13.5%) and An. varuna (28.13%). Anopheles stephensi was found to be abundantly breeding in built wells used for domestic purposes. Adult females of An. stephensi were observed in emergence trap collections (93.9%), human landing catches all night (79.2%), pyrethrum spray sheet collections (38.6%), outdoor collections (8.3%), donkey-baited trap collections (14.3), and cattle-baited net trap collections (0.7%).Sri Lanka was certified as malaria-free by the WHO in September 2016, however, this new finding may pose a serious challenge to the efforts of the Ministry of Health to prevent the re-introduction of malaria transmission in the country, considering the role that An. stephensi could play in urban and high vulnerability areas of Sri Lanka.
Project description:With the increasing interest in vaccines to interrupt malaria transmission, there is a demand for harmonization of current methods to assess Plasmodium transmission in laboratory settings. Potential vaccine candidates are currently tested in the standard membrane feeding assay (SMFA) that commonly relies on Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Other mosquito species including Anopheles gambiae are the dominant malaria vectors for Plasmodium falciparum in sub-Saharan Africa.Using human serum and monoclonal pre-fertilization (anti-Pfs48/45) and post-fertilization (anti-Pfs25) antibodies known to effectively inhibit sporogony, we directly compared SMFA based estimates of transmission-reducing activity (TRA) for An. stephensi and An. gambiae mosquitoes.In the absence of transmission-reducing antibodies, average numbers of oocysts were similar between An. gambiae and An. stephensi. Antibody-mediated TRA was strongly correlated between both mosquito species, and absolute TRA estimates for pre-fertilisation monoclonal antibodies (mAb) showed no significant difference between the two species. TRA estimates for IgG of naturally exposed individuals and partially effective concentrations of anti-Pfs25 mAb were higher for An. stephensi than for An. gambiae.Our findings support the use of An. stephensi in the SMFA for target prioritization. As a vaccine moves through product development, better estimates of TRA and transmission-blocking activity (TBA) may need to be obtained in epidemiologically relevant parasite-species combination.
Project description:We mapped current and future temperature suitability for malaria transmission in Africa using a published model that incorporates nonlinear physiological responses to temperature of the mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. We found that a larger area of Africa currently experiences the ideal temperature for transmission than previously supposed. Under future climate projections, we predicted a modest increase in the overall area suitable for malaria transmission, but a net decrease in the most suitable area. Combined with human population density projections, our maps suggest that areas with temperatures suitable for year-round, highest-risk transmission will shift from coastal West Africa to the Albertine Rift between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, whereas areas with seasonal transmission suitability will shift toward sub-Saharan coastal areas. Mapping temperature suitability places important bounds on malaria transmissibility and, along with local level demographic, socioeconomic, and ecological factors, can indicate where resources may be best spent on malaria control.
Project description:The mosquito innate immune response is able to clear the majority of Plasmodium parasites. This immune clearance is controlled by a number of regulatory molecules including serine protease inhibitors (serpins). To determine whether such molecules could represent a novel target for a malaria transmission-blocking vaccine, we vaccinated mice with Anopheles gambiae serpin-2. Antibodies against Anopheles gambiae serpin-2 significantly reduced the infection of a heterologous Anopheles species (Anopheles stephensi) by Plasmodium berghei, however this effect was not observed with Plasmodium falciparum. Therefore, this approach of targeting regulatory molecules of the mosquito immune system may represent a novel approach to transmission-blocking malaria vaccines.
Project description: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. Here, we adapted the ReMOT Control (Receptor-mediated Ovary Transduction of Cargo) technique to deliver Cas9 ribonucleoprotein complex to adult mosquito ovaries, generating targeted and heritable mutations in the malaria vector Anopheles stephensi without injecting embryos. In Anopheles, ReMOT Control gene editing was as efficient as standard embryo injections. The application of ReMOT Control to Anopheles opens the power of CRISPR/Cas9 methods to malaria laboratories that lack the equipment or expertise to perform embryo injections and establishes the flexibility of ReMOT Control for diverse mosquito species.
Project description:Anopheles stephensi is the key vector of malaria throughout the Indian subcontinent and Middle East and an emerging model for molecular and genetic studies of mosquito-parasite interactions. The type form of the species is responsible for the majority of urban malaria transmission across its range.Here, we report the genome sequence and annotation of the Indian strain of the type form of An. stephensi. The 221 Mb genome assembly represents more than 92% of the entire genome and was produced using a combination of 454, Illumina, and PacBio sequencing. Physical mapping assigned 62% of the genome onto chromosomes, enabling chromosome-based analysis. Comparisons between An. stephensi and An. gambiae reveal that the rate of gene order reshuffling on the X chromosome was three times higher than that on the autosomes. An. stephensi has more heterochromatin in pericentric regions but less repetitive DNA in chromosome arms than An. gambiae. We also identify a number of Y-chromosome contigs and BACs. Interspersed repeats constitute 7.1% of the assembled genome while LTR retrotransposons alone comprise more than 49% of the Y contigs. RNA-seq analyses provide new insights into mosquito innate immunity, development, and sexual dimorphism.The genome analysis described in this manuscript provides a resource and platform for fundamental and translational research into a major urban malaria vector. Chromosome-based investigations provide unique perspectives on Anopheles chromosome evolution. RNA-seq analysis and studies of immunity genes offer new insights into mosquito biology and mosquito-parasite interactions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The recent reference genome assembly and annotation of the Asian malaria vector Anopheles stephensi detected only one gene encoding the leucine-rich repeat immune factor APL1, while in the Anopheles gambiae and sibling Anopheles coluzzii, APL1 factors are encoded by a family of three paralogs. The phylogeny and biological function of the unique APL1 gene in An. stephensi have not yet been specifically examined. METHODS:The APL1 locus was manually annotated to confirm the computationally predicted single APL1 gene in An. stephensi. APL1 evolution within Anopheles was explored by phylogenomic analysis. The single or paralogous APL1 genes were silenced in An. stephensi and An. coluzzii, respectively, followed by mosquito survival analysis, experimental infection with Plasmodium and expression analysis. RESULTS:APL1 is present as a single ancestral gene in most Anopheles including An. stephensi but has expanded to three paralogs in an African lineage that includes only the Anopheles gambiae species complex and Anopheles christyi. Silencing of the unique APL1 copy in An. stephensi results in significant mosquito mortality. Elevated mortality of APL1-depleted An. stephensi is rescued by antibiotic treatment, suggesting that pathology due to bacteria is the cause of mortality, and indicating that the unique APL1 gene is essential for host survival. Successful Plasmodium development in An. stephensi depends upon APL1 activity for protection from high host mortality due to bacteria. In contrast, silencing of all three APL1 paralogs in An. coluzzii does not result in elevated mortality, either with or without Plasmodium infection. Expression of the single An. stephensi APL1 gene is regulated by both the Imd and Toll immune pathways, while the two signaling pathways regulate different APL1 paralogs in the expanded APL1 locus. CONCLUSIONS:APL1 underwent loss and gain of functions concomitant with expansion from a single ancestral gene to three paralogs in one lineage of African Anopheles. We infer that activity of the unique APL1 gene promotes longevity in An. stephensi by conferring protection from or tolerance to an effect of bacterial pathology. The evolution of an expanded APL1 gene family could be a factor contributing to the exceptional levels of malaria transmission mediated by human-feeding members of the An. gambiae species complex in Africa.
Project description:Malaria is one of the most important infectious diseases in the world, and it has many economic and social impacts on populations, especially in poor countries. Transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs) are valuable tools for malaria eradication. A study on Anopheles gambiae revealed that polyclonal antibodies to carboxypeptidase B1 of A. gambiae can block sexual parasite development in the mosquito midgut. Hence, it was introduced as a TBV target in regions where A. gambiae is the main malaria vector. However, in Iran and neighboring countries as far as China, the main malaria vector is Anopheles stephensi. Also, the genome of this organism has not been sequenced yet. Therefore, in this study, carboxypeptidase B1 of A. stephensi was characterized by genomic and proteomic approaches. Furthermore, its expression pattern after ingestion of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes and the effect of anti-CPBAs1 antibodies on sexual parasite development were evaluated. Our results revealed that the cpbAs1 expression level was increased after ingestion of the mature gametocytes of P. falciparum and that anti-CPBAs1 directed antibodies could significantly reduce the mosquito infection rate in the test group compared with the control group. Therefore, according to our findings and with respect to the high similarity of carboxypeptidase enzymes between the two main malaria vectors in Africa (A. gambiae) and Asia (A. stephensi) and the presence of other sympatric vectors, CPBAs1 could be introduced as a TBV candidate in regions where A. stephensi is the main malaria vector, and this will broaden the scope for the potential wider application of CPBAs1 antigen homologs/orthologs.