Gene drives hold promise for the genetic control of malaria vectors. The development of vector population modification strategies hinges on the availability of effector mechanisms impeding parasite development in transgenic mosquitoes. We augmented a midgut gene of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae to secrete two exogenous antimicrobial peptides, magainin 2 and melittin. This small genetic modification, capable of efficient nonautonomous gene drive, hampers oocyst development in both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei. It delays the release of infectious sporozoites, while it simultaneously reduces the life span of homozygous female transgenic mosquitoes.
Hoermann, A., Habtewold, T., Selvaraj, P., Del Corsano, G., Capriotti, P., Inghilterra, M. G., … & Windbichler, N. (2022). Gene drive mosquitoes can aid malaria elimination by retarding Plasmodium sporogonic development. Science Advances, 8(38), eabo1733.