Genetic approaches to interfere with malaria transmission by vector mosquitoes

Trends Biotechnol. 2013 Mar;31(3):185-93. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2013.01.001. Epub 2013 Feb 6.


Malaria remains one of the most devastating diseases worldwide, causing over 1 million deaths every year. The most vulnerable stages of Plasmodium development in the vector mosquito occur in the midgut lumen, making the midgut a prime target for intervention. Mosquito transgenesis and paratransgenesis are two novel strategies that aim at rendering the vector incapable of sustaining Plasmodium development. Mosquito transgenesis involves direct genetic engineering of the mosquito itself for delivery of anti-Plasmodium effector molecules. Conversely, paratransgenesis involves the genetic modification of mosquito symbionts for expression of anti-pathogen effector molecules. Here we consider both genetic manipulation strategies for rendering mosquitoes refractory to Plasmodium infection, and discuss challenges for the translation of laboratory findings to field applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / parasitology*
  • Culicidae / genetics
  • Culicidae / microbiology
  • Culicidae / parasitology*
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Disease Vectors
  • Malaria / transmission*
  • Microbial Interactions*
  • Mosquito Control / methods*
  • Plasmodium / growth & development*