Role of antennal P450s in mosquito mating and insecticide resistance

Current data suggests enrichment of specific insecticide metabolising P450 enzymes in olfactory tissues that have peak circadian expression at dusk when mosquitoes begin mating. This project will define their role in mating and behavioural resistance through quantitative and qualitative analysis of odorant responses and odorant metabolism in GM and field mosquitoes. 

Where does this project lie in the translational pathway? 

The project lies in the T1/T2 pathway and will provide basic science underpinning the role of P450 metabolism in attractant and repellent signalling in the mosquito antennae, and provide evidence for chemical and genetic population control by targeting mating.

Methodological aspects of the PhD project

Large data set analysis of RNA seq and “omic” databases to define P450 tissue distribution and CRSIPR/Cas9 targets. Quantitative PCR validation. In vitro and in vivo metabolic assays of volatile cues. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of antennal response to compounds.


Expected outputs of the PhD project

Publications on: In vivo response to and in vitro P450 metabolism of odorants. How blocking of metabolism affects mating success. Targeting Gates Foundation, MRC and BBSRC funding platforms through GCRF. Impact will be derived from knowledge on mating effects caused by modulating P450 metabolism that may be utilised in chemical and genetic control of mosquito populations

External industry links or training opportunities available for the student.

Chemical companies specialising in using chemical ecology approaches to pest management. Eg Syngenta, Bayer, Genetic approaches to mosquito control eg Oxitec. Academic institutes: Rothamsted research, Pirbright

Required skills/experience/aptitudes

Background knowledge and Interest in molecular biology or chemical ecology, aptitude to develop and broaden bioinformatics, molecular and genetic skills. A level or equivalent in maths.

Key publications that relate to this proposed project 


Pondeville E, Puchot N, Meredith J, Lynd A, Vernick K, Lycett G, Eggleston P and Bourgouin C. Efficient phiC31 integrase-mediated site-specific germ-line transformation of Anopheles gambiae. Nature Protocols 2014 9(7):1698-712


PittsRJ1,RinkerDC,JonesPL,RokasA,ZwiebelLJ. Transcriptomeprofilingofchemosensoryappendagesin themalariavectorAnophelesgambiaerevealstissue-andsex-specificsignaturesofodorcoding. BMC Genomics. 2011 May 27;12:271


Lynd A, Lycett GJ: Development of the bi-partite Gal4-UAS system in the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. PLoS One 2012, 7(2):e31552.


Krzywinska E, Dennison NJ, Lycett GJ, Krzywinski J.
A maleness gene in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Science. 2016 Jul 1;353(6294):67-9. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf5605.


Balabanidou V, Kampouraki A, MacLean M, Blomquist GJ, Tittiger C, Juárez MP, Mijailovsky SJ, Chalepakis G, Anthousi A, Lynd A, Antoine S, Hemingway J, Ranson H, Lycett GJ, Vontas J"Cytochrome P450 associated with insecticide resistance catalyzes cuticular hydrocarbon production in Anopheles gambiae."
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2016). 113(33): 9268-9273.


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