by Professor Marc Muskavitch from Boston College, the Broad Institute, and Harvard School of Public Health, examined the responses of each mosquito species to different pathogens including parasites, viruses, bacteria, and worms, to identify genes that play a role in mosquito immune defences."Our pathogenomics study took advantage of the sequencing of the Culex quinquefasciatus
genome" says Professor Muskavitch, "to bring together data from experiments profiling responses of mosquito genes to pathogen infections, directed by Professor Lyric Bartholomay, with the results of comparative immunogenomics analyses led by Dr Robert Waterhouse". This study revealed many differences among these three mosquito species, and also that Culex
, the most geographically widespread, "has an expanded immune gene repertoire, which may enhance its ability to adapt to diverse habitats with different pathogen challenges", explains Dr Waterhouse.
"These important studies" says Professor Zdobnov, "highlight how genome sequencing can greatly facilitate detailed experimental investigations to uncover the complex biology of these major disease-vector mosquitoes". Professor Bartholomay, from Iowa State University, adds that "by comparing numerous combinations of mosquito species infected with different pathogen types, our results indicate that pathogens that successfully develop in, and are transmitted by, disease-vector mosquitoes, have evolved to avoid mosquito immune responses". Improving our understanding of these vector-pathogen relationships significantly advances the long-term objectives of developing strategies to reinforce the mosquitoes' defences, making them immune to infections and breaking the chain of pathogen transmission.
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