A. Diabate, IRSS/Centre Muraz, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso - Targeting male mosquito mating behavior for vector control

Lead Research Organisation: Keele University
Department Name: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Abstract

Malaria remains a major cause of mortality in many parts of Africa. The control of mosquito populations remains one of the most efficient ways of decreasing the incidence of the disease. This is commonly done by using insecticide-impregnated bednets or by spraying houses. In many areas of Africa however, mosquito populations are becoming resistant to commonly used pesticides. There is thus an urgent need for exploring and developing novel approaches to control or eradicate mosquito populations.
Here, two medical entomologists from Burkina Faso and the UK join their expertise to propose an extensive research program focusing on the male reproductive behaviour of Anopheles gambiae, the main vector of malaria in Africa. Male mating behaviour is a key aspect of the mosquito life-cycle and an aspect of their biology that is crucial for the development of several promising vector control strategies. Anopheles gambiae mates in flying aggregations or swarms in which they choose their mate and copulate. Swarms would constitute an ideal target for mosquito population control but very little is known about the cues that male mosquitoes use to locate and initiate their swarms. Here, the researchers propose to build on recent findings from months of observation of swarm formation in their natural habitats to explore the feasibility of predicting and manipulating swarm location for mass killing.
Male mating behaviour is also crucial for vector control programs aiming to release sterile male mosquitoes that mate with wild females and induce their sterility and for programs aiming to introduce genes of refractoriness to malaria into mosquito populations via genetically-modified mosquitoes. So far laboratory-reared male mosquitoes have been unable to mate with wild females effectively thereby casting doubt on the efficiency of mosquito releases. An important part of the research program will thus focus on understanding what determines male mating success in swarms with the goal of improving the mating performance of laboratory-reared male mosquitoes.
The proposed research studies will include ecological experiments in specially designed large outdoor cages and selected villages in Burkina Faso and will also benefit from the latest molecular advances in the laboratories of the UK partner institution. The novel approaches are expected to strongly impact this field of research and soon benefit communities from countries endemic for malaria by enabling new mosquito control strategies.

Technical Summary

The control of mosquito populations via insecticide-treated bednets and indoor residuals spraying (IRS) are amongst the most effective ways of decreasing malaria incidence in endemic areas of Africa. However, because mosquito populations constantly evolve behavioral and physiological resistance to available insecticides, these approaches progressively loose their effectiveness and there is a constant and urgent need for exploring and developing novel tools for vector control.
Here, The African co-PI and its UK partner join their expertise and propose an extensive research program targeting male reproductive behaviour of Anopheles gambiae, the main vector of malaria in Africa. Male mating behaviour is a key aspect of the mosquito life-cycle and an aspect of their biology that is crucial for the development of several promising vector control strategies. Anopheles gambiae mates in flying aggregations or swarms in which they choose their mate and copulate. Swarms would constitute an ideal target for vector control because their elimination would prevent or delay female mosquito mating, hence decrease population growth. Swarm elimination would particularly be effective in combination with IRS or the release of sterile or genetically-modified mosquitoes. We propose to build on recent advances in our understanding of swarming behaviour by the co-PI and thoroughly explore the feasibility of predicting and manipulating swarm location for mass killing. Importantly, the impact of this intervention on mosquito populations combined or not with IRS will be directly evaluated.
Male mating behaviour is also crucial for vector control programs aiming to release sterile male mosquitoes that mate with wild females and induce their sterility and for programs aiming to introduce genes of refractoriness to malaria in mosquito populations via genetically-modified mosquitoes. Evidence from sterile mosquito releases and competition experiments suggests that laboratory-reared males do not mate with wild females very effectively. The second aim of the research program will therefore investigate the determinants of reproductive success and mate recognition within swarms which is the key for improving breeding strategies and mating performance of laboratory-reared male mosquitoes.
Experiments on swarms will take place in large outdoor cages and selected sites in Burkina Faso making use of ecological techniques developed by the Co-PI, PI and others in previous studies. A significant Burkina-UK molecular biology and population dynamics training component is build into the program and will be based in the UK partner institution. The new approaches proposed here are expected to strongly impact this research field and future vector control strategies.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description FAPESP Visiting Scientist fellowship
Amount R$ 5,000 (BRL)
Organisation São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) 
Sector Public
Country Brazil
Start 08/2016 
End 09/2016
 
Description Grand challenge explorations Canada
Amount $112,000 (CAD)
Funding ID S6 0510-01-10 
Organisation Government of Canada 
Department Grand Challenges Canada
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 05/2014 
End 10/2015
 
Description NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility
Amount £7,507 (GBP)
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2012
 
Description Residual Malaria Transmission
Amount $80,000 (USD)
Organisation World Health Organization (WHO) 
Sector Public
Country Global
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2017
 
Description Royal Society Pfizer Award
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2014 
End 04/2015
 
Description Targeting swarms and mosquito nocturnal behaviour through localised space spraying to control outdoor malaria transmission
Amount $600,000 (USD)
Organisation IVCC 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2016 
End 06/2018
 
Description Vector-Based Transmission of Malaria - Target Malaria (Initial Award + Extension)
Amount $4,050,000 (USD)
Organisation Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 08/2012 
End 01/2020
 
Description GIS Keele School of Physical and Geographical Sciences 
Organisation Keele University
Department School of Physical and Geographical Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution IRSS staff provide GPS coordinates and environmental data
Collaborator Contribution Keele Staff provide training in GIS to PhD and PI's
Impact not yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description GIS project with IRD 
Organisation Institute of Development Research (IRD)
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution IRSS staff provided GPS coordinates and environmental data
Collaborator Contribution IRD staff helped set-up GIS project and advise on data to be collected
Impact not yet
Start Year 2011
 
Description Harvard School of Public Health 
Organisation Harvard University
Department Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Partnership for joint research projects as well as grant application such as strategic or programme award.
Collaborator Contribution Partnership between ARL from IRSS, Burkina Faso; UK partner institution CAEP, Keele University; and Harvard School of Public Health
Impact Grant writing in progress.
Start Year 2013
 
Description International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA 
Organisation International Atomic Energy Agency
Country Austria 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Negotiations towards joint strategic or programme grant Joint submission to Wellcome Trust Resubmission planned
Collaborator Contribution Partnership with ARL from IRSS, Burkina Faso; UK partner from CAEP Keele University
Impact Grant writing in progress
Start Year 2013
 
Description Investigating Residual Malaria Transmission 
Organisation University of California, San Francisco
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Advisory role
Collaborator Contribution Discussion on New vector control Paradigm
Impact TBA
Start Year 2015
 
Description Liverpool Centre for Genomic Research 
Organisation Agilent Technologies
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Design of targeted genome-enrichment tool for Anopheles gambiae
Collaborator Contribution Production and application of targeted genome-enrichment tool for Anopheles gambiae
Impact Not yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description Liverpool Centre for Genomic Research 
Organisation University of Liverpool
Department Liverpool Centre for Genomic Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Design of targeted genome-enrichment tool for Anopheles gambiae
Collaborator Contribution Production and application of targeted genome-enrichment tool for Anopheles gambiae
Impact Not yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description Spatial Analyses - Keele School of Life Sciences 
Organisation Keele University
Department School of Life Sciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution IRSS staff provide field geo-referenced data to be analyzed
Collaborator Contribution Keele Staff provide training in spatial multivariate analyses to PhD student and PI's
Impact not yet
Start Year 2012