The influence of the microbiome on mosquito behaviour

Lead Research Organisation: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Department Name: Tropical Disease Biology


There is accumulating evidence from diverse systems that microbes which reside in the gut can influence the behaviour of their host. A variety of events during mosquito hostseeking and bloodfeeding may be influenced by the pathogens they transmit, but little is known of the microbiome's role in key behaviours during host selection and transmission. Recently we demonstrated that gut bacteria can alter the propensity of mosquitoes to blood feed, demonstrating that bacterial microbes can have direct effects on behavioural traits that are important for vectorial capacity. Here we will investigate further the role of the microbiome on feeding and on diverse mosquito traits relevant to pathogen transmission. We will employ several methods to perturb the microbiota of mosquitoes including techniques newly developed in the Hughes lab, to perform complete microbiome transplantations between mosquito cohorts, creating mosquitoes with simple and complex microbiomes. These lines will then be characterised using LSTM's unique state-of-the-art video assays and procedures tests for quantification of mosquito behaviours fundamental to pathogen transmission and its prevention, such as host detection, selection and bloodfeeding, resting and flight, and responses to insecticides. The data generated by the 2D and 3D video recordings, particularly the complex spatio-temporal activity maps of multiple mosquitoes responding to human hosts, and microbiome datasets will be analysed by mathematical trajectories analyses, and/or machine learning and artificial intelligence methods. This highly contemporary project will expand our understanding of the influence of microbes on vector behaviour and epidemiology of vector-borne diseases, and open novel avenues to explore for bespoke vector control strategies, by uniting two disparate lines of research, each of which already has considerable proven potential to generate highly appropriate and effective outputs.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
MR/R015678/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2025
2824003 Studentship MR/R015678/1 03/10/2021 02/10/2025