SymbioVec - Yeast symbionts of malaria vectors: from basic research to the management of malaria control

Advances in biotechnology propose innovative tools particularly relevant for public health application by genetic manipulation of microbial symbionts of arthropod vectoring disease. The symbiont engineering prevents the transmission of pathogens to human by interfering with their stage within the arthropod, thorough the expression of anti-pathogen effector molecules. This approach, defined paratransgenesis is simpler than the proposed engineering of the vector itself (transgenesis) and implies minor applicative and ethical concerns. Identification of good candidate for paratransgenesis has opened the way towards the investigation of microbes residing in the arthropod body, particularly those localised within the gut that often represents the locale in which pathogens transit or develop. Good paratransgenic candidates were already identified in the bug vectoring Chagas disease in South America and in the tse-tse fly vectoring sleeping sickness in Africa. As regard mosquitoes, responsible of tens of human infections including malaria, some interesting bacteria have been recognized as candidates for genetic manipulation, even if the ability of recombinant strains to cure mosquito has not been demonstrated yet in the field. Bacteria can be easily isolated, modified and reintroduced in the mosquito but secretion of antagonists by prokaryotic cell can represent a matter difficult to resolve. In this context endosymbiotic yeasts seem to be very appealing. Their genetic and cellular complexity makes yeasts as ideal tools for manipulation and bypasses many difficulties relative to the recombinant products releasing. On these bases, I have recently begun a study on the yeast microflora in mosquito. Particularly, I investigated the relationship between the yeast endosymbiont Pichia anomala and malaria vectors. Considering the special features of this yeast, I propose its use as paratransgenic tool for malaria control.


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Start date: 2012-06-01 / End Date: 2017-05-31

Info at Cordis:


Acronimo: SymbioVec

Soggetto finaziatore: Unione Europea

Programma di Finanziamento e bando: ERC-2011-StG_20101109

Numero del progetto/Contratto: 281222

Responsabile Scientifico: Prof.ssa Irene Ricci

Scuola / Struttura: Bioscienze e Medicina Veterinaria

ruolo Unicam: Coordinator/Host Institution

Tipo di finaziamento: VII Programma Quadro