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Division of Cell & Molecular Biology,
My project explores the tripartite interactions between the mosquito gut microbial communities, the PGRPLC-mediated anti-bacterial defence reactions and infections with Plasmodium, and how these might be exploited in future interventions aiming to control malaria transmission. Bacteria in the mosquito midgut have been previously shown to affect Plasmodium development. The dramatic bacterial proliferation after a blood meal coincides with the invasion of the mosquito midgut by Plasmodium ookinetes, with An. gambiae immune responses to limit bacterial proliferation affecting the infection intensity of human and rodent Plasmodium parasites. The aim of the project is to investigate the diversity and dynamics of the mosquito gut microbiota, elucidate constitutive immune responses triggered by commensal bacteria that may affect susceptibility and refractoriness against Plasmodium infections, characterize bacterial populations responsible for inducible immunity and explore the possibility of the use of genetically modified bacteria for blocking malaria transmission.