Anopheles arabiensis is an opportunistic malaria vector that rests and feeds outdoors, circumventing current vector control methods. Furthermore, this vector will readily feed on animal as well as human hosts. Targeting the vector, while feeding on animals, can provide an additional intervention for the current vector control activities. Agricultural animals are regularly vaccinated with recombinant proteins for the control of multiple endo- and ecto-parasitic infestations. The use of a Subolesin-vaccine showed a mark reduction in tick reproductive fitness. The orthologous gene of Subolesin, called Akirin in insects, might provide a valuable species-specific intervention against outdoor biting An. arabiensis. However, the biological function of this nuclear protein has not yet been investigated in this mosquito. The effects on An. arabiensis lifetable parameters were evaluated after Akirin was knocked down using commercial small-interfering RNA (siRNA) and in vitro transcribed double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The siRNA mediated interference of Akirin significantly reduced fecundity by 17%, fertility by 23% and longevity by 32% when compared to the controls in the female mosquitoes tested. Similarly, dsRNA treatment had a 25% decrease in fecundity, 29% decrease in fertility, and 48% decrease in longevity, when compared to the control treatments. Mosquitoes treated with Akirin dsRNA had a mean survival time of 15-days post-inoculation, which would impact on their ability to transmit malaria parasites. These results strongly suggest that Akirin has a pleiotropic function in An. arabiensis longevity and reproductive fitness.
January 30, 2015
October 4, 2017