Driving mosquito refractoriness to Plasmodium falciparum with engineered symbiotic bacteria
The huge burden of malaria in developing countries urgently demands the development of novel approaches to fight this deadly disease. Although engineered symbiotic bacteria have been shown to render mosquitoes resistant to the parasite, the challenge remains to effectively introduce such bacteria into mosquito populations. We describe a Serratia bacterium strain (AS1) isolated from Anopheles ovaries that stably colonizes the mosquito midgut, female ovaries, and male accessory glands and spreads rapidly throughout mosquito populations. Serratia AS1 was genetically engineered for secretion of anti-Plasmodium effector proteins, and the recombinant strains inhibit development of Plasmodium falciparum in mosquitoes.