EVALUATION OF: Fang W, Vega-Rodríguez J, Ghosh AK et al. Development of transgenic fungi that kill human malaria parasites in mosquitoes. Science 331(6020), 1074-1077 (2011). Paratransgenesis is the genetic manipulation of insect endosymbiotic microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. Paratransgenesis has been proposed as a potential method to control vector-borne diseases such as malaria. In this article, Fang and colleagues have used genetic manipulation to insert multiple antimalaria effector genes into the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. When the modified fungus was used to infect Anopheles mosquitoes, it expressed the antimalaria effector molecules in the mosquito hemolymph. When several different effector molecules were coexpressed, malaria levels in the mosquito salivary glands were inhibited by up to 98% compared with controls. Significant inhibition could be initiated by as little as seven fungal spores and was very rapid and long lasting. These data suggest that recombinant entomopathogenic fungi could be deployed as part of a strategy to control malaria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)