Knockout of Anopheles stephensi immune gene LRIM1 by CRISPR-Cas9 reveals its unexpected role in reproduction and vector competence.

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TitleKnockout of Anopheles stephensi immune gene LRIM1 by CRISPR-Cas9 reveals its unexpected role in reproduction and vector competence.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsInbar, E, Eappen, AG, Alford, RT, Reid, W, Harrell, RA, Hosseini, M, Chakravarty, S, Li, T, B Sim, KLee, Billingsley, PF, Hoffman, SL
JournalPLoS Pathog
Volume17
Issue11
Paginatione1009770
Date Published2021 Nov 16
ISSN1553-7374
Abstract

PfSPZ Vaccine against malaria is composed of Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) sporozoites (SPZ) manufactured using aseptically reared Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Immune response genes of Anopheles mosquitoes such as Leucin-Rich protein (LRIM1), inhibit Plasmodium SPZ development (sporogony) in mosquitoes by supporting melanization and phagocytosis of ookinetes. With the aim of increasing PfSPZ infection intensities, we generated an A. stephensi LRIM1 knockout line, Δaslrim1, by embryonic genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9. Δaslrim1 mosquitoes had a significantly increased midgut bacterial load and an altered microbiome composition, including elimination of commensal acetic acid bacteria. The alterations in the microbiome caused increased mosquito mortality and unexpectedly, significantly reduced sporogony. The survival rate of Δaslrim1 and their ability to support PfSPZ development, were partially restored by antibiotic treatment of the mosquitoes, and fully restored to baseline when Δaslrim1 mosquitoes were produced aseptically. Deletion of LRIM1 also affected reproductive capacity: oviposition, fecundity and male fertility were significantly compromised. Attenuation in fecundity was not associated with the altered microbiome. This work demonstrates that LRIM1's regulation of the microbiome has a major impact on vector competence and longevity of A. stephensi. Additionally, LRIM1 deletion identified an unexpected role for this gene in fecundity and reduction of sperm transfer by males.

DOI10.1371/journal.ppat.1009770
Alternate JournalPLoS Pathog
PubMed ID34784388