About 20 species of mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles are known vectors of Plasmodium, transmitting the parasite while taking a blood meal on humans. Among them, Anopheles gambiae is the major malaria vector in sub-Saharan Africa. Importantly, mosquitoes are not mere needles that transmit the parasites, they actively fight the parasite. In some mosquitoes, parasite development is even completely blocked early after infection, making these mosquitoes unable to transmit the disease. We aim at understanding the genetic basis of the resistance/susceptibility of mosquitoes towards Plasmodium, and we develop new tools for efficient mosquito transgenesis to investigate mosquito-parasite interactions.
Left photos : GFP-expressing parasites are visible on the midgut of a mosquito from the susceptible strain while mosquitoes from the resistant strain are devoid of live parasites.
Right photo : transgenic larvae of a strain we call “french kiss”.
The commencement of the work has started for the new insectarium, a documentary directed by Caroline Moreau of France 3 (in French).