Scientific reports

A viral over-expression system for the major malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

PMID 24875042


Understanding pathogen/mosquito interactions is essential for developing novel strategies to control mosquito-borne diseases. Technical advances in reverse-genetics, such as RNA interference (RNAi), have facilitated elucidation of components of the mosquito immune system that are antagonistic to pathogen development, and host proteins essential for parasite development. Forward genetic approaches, however, are limited to generation of transgenic insects, and while powerful, mosquito transgenesis is a resource- and time-intensive technique that is not broadly available to most laboratories. The ability to easily "over-express" genes would enhance molecular studies in vector biology and expedite elucidation of pathogen-refractory genes without the need to make transgenic insects. We developed and characterized an efficient Anopheles gambiae densovirus (AgDNV) over-expression system for the major malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. High-levels of gene expression were detected at 3 days post-infection and increased over time, suggesting this is an effective system for gene induction. Strong expression was observed in the fat body and ovaries. We validated multiple short promoters for gene induction studies. Finally, we developed a polycistronic system to simultaneously express multiple genes of interest. This AgDNV-based toolset allows for consistent transduction of genes of interest and will be a powerful molecular tool for research in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes.