Dr Jewelna Efua Akorli

Dr Jewelna Efua Akorli (University of Ghana)

Research title: Anti-Plasmodial mechanisms of mosquito gut bacteria isolated from field-caught malaria vectors.

Research project: Advancement in the study of vector-parasite interactions has disclosed the effects mosquito midgut microbiota have on the development of ingested parasites. These naturally-occurring microbiota can be useful in blocking parasite transmission.
The killing processes in Plasmodium parasites, which are initiated by effective bacteria in the mosquito midgut, are under-studied. In this research project, the transcriptome of mosquito stages of P. berghei in the presence of field-isolates of mosquito midgut bacteria will be analysed using RNAseq. Female Anopheles mosquitoes recently colonised from a field population will be rendered aseptic of selected bacteria by antibiotic treatment. The bacterium to be studied will be reintroduced into the mosquitoes through a sugar meal, and the mosquitoes will be fed on P. berghei (ANKA GFPcon 259cl2) infected mice. Controls will be set-up with aseptic,reintroduced and septic mosquitoes fed on infected or non-infected mice to allow analyses of constitutive and induced immunity. At 24h post-infection, RNA will be extracted from mosquito midguts. The transcriptome of parasites and mosquito will be compared between mosquito groups. The results will give firsthand knowledge of the genetic interactions between vector, parasite and microbiota, and show genes and protein families that can be targeted for parasite transmission-blocking strategies.

Collaborator Dr Frank Jiggins, Department of Genetics