Relevant Publications

Candidate-gene based GWAS identifies reproducible DNA markers for metabolic pyrethroid resistance from standing genetic variation in East African Anopheles gambiae (in press)

Weetman, D., Wilding, C.S., Neafsey, D.E., Muller, P., Ochomo, E., Isaacs, A.T., Steen, K., Rippon, E.J., Morgan, J.C., Mawejje, H.D., Rigden, D.J., Okedi, L.M. and Donnelly, M.J. (2018)

Abstract here

Natural diversity of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae

The Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium (2017)

The sustainability of malaria control in Africa is threatened by the rise of insecticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit the disease. To gain a deeper understanding of how mosquito populations are evolving, here we sequenced the genomes of 765 specimens of Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii sampled from 15 locations across Africa, and identified over 50 million single nucleotide polymorphisms within the accessible genome. These data revealed complex population structure and patterns of gene flow, with evidence of ancient expansions, recent bottlenecks, and local variation in effective population size. Strong signals of recent selection were observed in insecticide-resistance genes, with several sweeps spreading over large geographical distances and between species. The design of new tools for mosquito control using gene-drive systems will need to take account of high levels of genetic diversity in natural mosquito populations.

Insecticide-Treated Nets and Protection against Insecticide-Resistant Malaria Vectors in Western Kenya

Ochomo, E., Chahilu, M., Cook, J., Kinyari, T., Bayoh, N.M., West, P., Kamau, L., Osangale, A., Ombok, M., Njagi, K., Mathenge, E., Muthami, L., Subramaniam, K., Knox, T., Mnzava, A., Donnelly, M.J.,Kleinschmidt, I. and Mbogo, C. (2017)

Insecticide resistance might reduce the efficacy of malaria vector control. In 2013 and 2014, malaria vectors from 50 villages, of varying pyrethroid resistance, in western Kenya were assayed for resistance to deltamethrin. Long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLIN) were distributed to households at universal coverage. Children were recruited into 2 cohorts, cleared of malaria-causing parasites, and tested every 2 weeks for reinfection. Infection incidence rates for the 2 cohorts were 2.2 (95% CI 1.9–2.5) infections/person-year and 2.8 (95% CI 2.5–3.0) infections/person-year. LLIN users had lower infection rates than non-LLIN users in both low-resistance (rate ratio 0.61, 95% CI 0.42–0.88) and high-resistance (rate ratio 0.55, 95% CI 0.35–0.87) villages (p = 0.63). The association between insecticide resistance and infection incidence was not significant (p = 0.99). Although the incidence of infection was high among net users, LLINs provided significant protection (p = 0.01) against infection with malaria parasite regardless of vector insecticide resistance.

A significant association between deltamethrin resistance, Plasmodium falciparum infection and the Vgsc-1014S resistance mutation in Anopheles gambiae highlights the epidemiological importance of resistance markers

Kabula, B., Tungu, P., Rippon, E.J., Steen, K., Kisinza, W., Magesa, S., Mosha, F. and Donnelly, M.J. (2016) 

Background. The success of malaria vector control is threatened by widespread pyrethroid insecticide resistance. However, the extent to which insecticide resistance impacts transmission is unclear. The objective of this study was to examine the association between the DDT/pyrethroid knockdown resistance mutation Vgsc-1014S, commonly termed kdr, and infection with Plasmodium falciparumsporozoites in Anopheles gambiae. Methods. WHO standard methods were used to characterize susceptibility of wild female mosquitoes to 0.05 % deltamethrin. PCR-based molecular diagnostics were used to identify mosquitoes to species and to genotype at the Vgsc-L1014S locus. ELISAs were used to detect the presence of P. falciparum sporozoites and for blood meal identification. Results. Anopheles mosquitoes were resistant to deltamethrin with mortality rates of 77.7 % [95 % CI 74.9–80.3 %]. Of 545 mosquitoes genotyped 96.5 % were A. gambiae s.s. and 3.5 % were Anopheles arabiensis. The Vgsc-1014S mutation was detected in both species. Both species were predominantly anthropophagic. In A. gambiae s.s., Vgsc-L1014S genotype was significantly associated with deltamethrin resistance (χ2 = 11.2; p < 0.001). The P. falciparum sporozoite infection rate was 4.2 %. There was a significant association between the presence of sporozoites and Vgsc-L1014S genotype in A. gambiae s.s. (χ2 = 4.94; p = 0.026). Conclusions. One marker, Vgsc-1014S, was associated with insecticide resistance and P. falciparum infection in wild-caught mixed aged populations of A. gambiae s.s.thereby showing how resistance may directly impact transmission.

Identification, validation, and application of molecular diagnostics for insecticide resistance in malaria vectors

Donnelly, M.J., Isaacs, A.T. and Weetman, D. (2016) 

Insecticide resistance is a major obstacle to control of Anopheles malaria mosquitoes in sub-Saharan Africa and requires an improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms. Efforts to discover resistance genes and DNA markers have been dominated by candidate gene and quantitative trait locus studies of laboratory strains, but with greater availability of genome sequences a shift toward field-based agnostic discovery is anticipated. Mechanisms evolve continually to produce elevated resistance yielding multiplicative diagnostic markers, co-screening of which can give high predictive value. With a shift toward prospective analyses, identification and screening of resistance marker panels will boost monitoring and programmatic decision making.

Presence of the knockdown resistance mutation, Vgsc-1014F in Anopheles gambiae and An. arabiensis in western Kenya

Ochomo, E., Subramaniam, K., Kemei, B., Rippon, E., Bayoh, N.M., Kamau, L., Atieli, F., Vulule, J.M., Ouma, C.,  Gimnig, J., Donnelly, M.J., and Mbogo, C. (2015) 

Introduction. The voltage gated sodium channel mutation Vgsc-1014S (kdr-east) was first reported in Kenya in 2000 and has since been observed to occur at high frequencies in the local Anopheles gambiae s.s. population. The mutation Vgsc-1014F has never been reported from An. gambiae Complex complex mosquitoes in Kenya. Findings. Molecularly confirmed An. gambiae s.s. (hereafter An. gambiae) and An. arabiensiscollected from 4 different parts of western Kenya were genotyped for kdr from 2011 to 2013. Vgsc-1014F was observed to have emerged, apparently, simultaneously in both An. gambiae and An. arabiensis in 2012. A portion of the samples were submitted for sequencing in order to confirm the Vgsc-1014F genotyping results. The resulting sequence data were deposited in GenBank (Accession numbers: KR867642-KR867651, KT758295-KT758303). A single Vgsc-1014F haplotype was observed suggesting, a common origin in both species. Conclusion. This is the first report of Vgsc-1014F in Kenya. Based on our samples, the mutation is present in low frequencies in both An. gambiae and An. arabiensis. It is important that we start monitoring relative frequencies of the two kdr genes so that we can determine their relative importance in an area of high insecticide treated net ownership.

Estimation of allele specific Ace 1 duplication in insecticide resistantAnopheles mosquitoes from West Africa

Djogbénou, L.S., Assogba, B., Essandoh, J., Constant, E.A.V., Makoutodé, M., Akogbéto, M., Donnelly, M.J. and Weetman, D. (2015) 

Background. Identification of variation in Ace-1 copy number and G119S mutation genotype from samples of Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii across West Africa are important diagnostics of carbamate and organophosphate resistance at population and individual levels. The most widespread and economical method, PCR–RFLP, suffers from an inability to discriminate true heterozygotes from heterozygotes with duplication. Methods. In addition to PCR–RFLP, in this study three different molecular techniques were applied on the same mosquito specimens: TaqMan qPCR, qRTPCR and ddPCR. To group heterozygous individuals recorded from the PCR–RFLP analysis into different assumptive genotypes K-means clustering was applied on the Z-scores of data obtained from both the TaqMan and ddPCR methods. The qRTPCR analysis was used for absolute quantification of copy number variation. Results. The results indicate that most heterozygotes are duplicated and that G119S mutation must now be regarded as a complex genotype ranging from primarily single-copy susceptible Glycine homozygotes to balanced and imbalanced heterozygotes, and multiply-amplified resistant Serine allele homozygotes. Whilst qRTPCR-based gene copy analysis suffers from some imprecision, it clearly illustrates differences in copy number among genotype groups identified by TaqMan or ddPCR. Based on TaqMan method properties, and by coupling TaqMan and ddPCR methods simultaneously on the same type of mosquito specimens, it demonstrated that the TaqMan genotype assays associated with the K-means clustering algorithm could provide a useful semi-quantitative estimate method to investigate the level of allele-specific duplication in mosquito populations. Conclusions. Ace-1 gene duplication is evidently far more complex in An. gambiae and An. coluzziithan the better-studied mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, which consequently can no longer be considered an appropriate model for prediction of phenotypic consequences. These require urgent further evaluation in Anopheles. To maintain the sustained effectiveness carbamates and organophosphates as alternative products to pyrethroids for malaria vector control, monitoring of duplicated resistant alleles in natural populations is essential to guide the rational use of these insecticides.

Contemporary evolution of resistance at the major insecticide target site gene Ace-1 by mutation and copy number variation in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Weetman, D., Mitchell, S.N., Wilding, C.S., Birks, D.P., Yawson, A.E., Essandoh, J., Mawejje, H.D., Djogbenou, L.S., Steen, K., Rippon, E.J., Clarkson, C.S., Field, S.G., Rigden, D.J. and Donnelly, M.J. (2015) 

Functionally constrained genes are ideal insecticide targets because disruption is often fatal, and resistance mutations are typically costly. Synaptic acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is an essential neurotransmission enzyme targeted by insecticides used increasingly in malaria control. In Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes, a glycine-serine substitution at codon 119 of the Ace-1 gene confers both resistance and fitness costs, especially for 119S/S homozygotes. G119S in Anopheles gambiae from Accra (Ghana) is strongly associated with resistance, and, despite expectations of cost, resistant 119S alleles are increasing significantly in frequency. Sequencing of Accra females detected only a single Ace-1 119S haplotype, whereas 119G diversity was high overall but very low at non-synonymous sites, evidence of strong purifying selection driven by functional constraint. Flanking microsatellites showed reduced diversity, elevated linkage disequilibrium and high differentiation of 119S, relative to 119G homozygotes across up to two megabases of the genome. Yet these signals of selection were inconsistent and sometimes weak tens of kilobases from Ace-1. This unexpected finding is attributable to apparently ubiquitous amplification of 119S alleles as part of a large copy number variant (CNV) far exceeding the size of the Ace-1 gene, whereas 119G alleles were unduplicated. Ace-1 CNV was detectable in archived samples collected when the 119S allele was rare in Ghana. Multicopy amplification of resistant alleles has not been observed previously and is likely to underpin the recent increase in 119S frequency. The large CNV compromised localization of the strong selective sweep around Ace-1, emphasizing the need to integrate CNV analysis into genome scans for selection.

Evolution of insecticide resistance diagnostics in malaria vectors

Weetman, D. and Donnelly, M.J. (2015) 

Malaria control is reliant upon effective, programmatic-scale, anti-vector interventions. The widespread distribution of pyrethroid-treated bednets in sub-Saharan Africa has been a driver of morbidity and mortality reductions over the last decade. Unfortunately resistance to insecticides, and to pyrethroids in particular, is increasingly common in Anopheles malaria vectors, and is a major threat to continued control and future elimination. Here we argue that current methods to diagnose resistance often have limited utility and should be augmented or even partially replaced by wider application of DNA markers.

Parallel evolution or purifying selection, not introgression, explain similarity in the pyrethroid detoxification linked GSTE4 of Anopheles gambiae and An. arabiensis

Wilding, C.S., Weetman, D., Rippon,E.J., Steen, K., Mawejje, H.D., Barsukov, I. and Donnelly, M.J. (2015) 

Insecticide resistance is a major impediment to the control of vectors and pests of public health importance and is a strongly selected trait capable of rapid spread, sometimes even between closely-related species. Elucidating the mechanisms generating insecticide resistance in mosquito vectors of disease, and understanding the spread of resistance within and between populations and species are vital for the development of robust resistance management strategies. Here we studied the mechanisms of resistance in two sympatric members of the Anopheles gambiae species complex – the major vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa – in order to understand how resistance has developed and spread in eastern Uganda, a region with some of the highest levels of malaria.

In eastern Uganda, where the mosquitoes Anopheles arabiensis and An. gambiae can be found sympatrically, low levels of hybrids (0.4%) occur, offering a route for introgression of adaptively important variants between species. In independent microarray studies of insecticide resistance, Gste4, an insect-specific glutathione S-transferase, was among the most significantly up-regulated genes in both species. To test the hypothesis of interspecific introgression, we sequenced 2.3kbp encompassing Gste4. Whilst this detailed sequencing ruled out introgression, we detected strong positive selection acting on Gste4. However, these sequences, followed by haplotype-specific qPCR, showed that the apparent up-regulation in An. arabiensis is a result of allelic variation across the microarray probe binding sites which artefactually elevates the gene expression signal. Thus, face-value acceptance of microarray data can be misleading and it is advisable to conduct a more detailed investigation of the causes and nature of such signal.

The identification of positive selection acting on this locus led us to functionally express and characterise allelic variants of GSTE4. Although the in vitro data do not support a direct role for GSTE4 in metabolism, they do support a role for this enzyme in insecticide sequestration. Thus, the demonstration of a role for an up-regulated gene in metabolic resistance to insecticides should not be limited to simply whether it can metabolise insecticide; such a strict criterion would argue against the involvement of GSTE4 despite the weight of evidence to the contrary.

Pyrethroid susceptibility of malaria vectors in four districts of western Kenya

Ochomo, E., Bayoh, N.M., Kamau, L., Atieli, F., Vulule, J., Ouma, C., Ombok, M., Njagi, K., Soti, D., Mathenge, E., Muthami, L., Kinyari, T., Subramaniam, K., Kleinschmidt, I., Donnelly, M.J. and Mbogo, C. (2014) 

Background. Increasing pyrethroid resistance in malaria vectors has been reported in western Kenya where long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are the mainstays of vector control. To ensure the sustainability of insecticide-based malaria vector control, monitoring programs need to be implemented. This study was designed to investigate the extent and distribution of pyrethroid resistance in 4 Districts of western Kenya (Nyando, Rachuonyo, Bondo and Teso). All four Districts have received LLINs while Nyando and Rachuonyo Districts have had IRS campaigns for 3–5 years using pyrethroids. This study is part of a programme aimed at determining the impact of insecticide resistance on malaria epidemiology. Methods. Three day old adult mosquitoes from larval samples collected in the field, were used for bioassays using the WHO tube bioassay, and mortality recorded 24 hours post exposure. Resistance level was assigned based on the 2013 WHO guidelines where populations with <90% mortality were considered resistant. Once exposed, samples were identified to species using PCR. Results. An. arabiensis comprised at least 94% of all An. gambiae s.l. in Bondo, Rachuonyo and Nyando. Teso was a marked contrast case with 77% of all samples being An. gambiae s.s. Mortality to insecticides varied widely between clusters even in one District with mortality to deltamethrin ranging from 45-100%, while to permethrin the range was 30-100%. Mortality to deltamethrin in Teso District was < 90% in 4 of 6 clusters tested in An arabiensis and <90% in An. gambiae s.s in 5 of 6 clusters tested. To permethrin, mortality ranged between 5.9-95%, with <90% mortality in 9 of 13 and 8 of 13 in An. arabiensis and An. gambiae s.s. respectively. Cluster specific mortality of An. arabiensis between permethin and deltamethrin were not correlated (Z = 2.9505, P = 0.2483). Conclusion. High levels of pyrethroid resistance were observed in western Kenya. This resistance does not seem to be associated with either species or location. Insecticide resistance can vary within small geographical areas and such heterogeneity may make it possible to evaluate the impact of resistance on malaria and mosquito parameters within similar eco-epidemiological zones.

Adaptive introgression between Anopheles sibling species eliminates a major genomic island but not reproductive isolation

Clarkson, C.S., Weetman, D., Essandoh, J., Yawson, A.E., Maslen, G., Manske, M., Field, S.G., Webster, M., MacInnis, B., Kwiatkowski, D. and Donnelly, M.J. (2014) 

Adaptive introgression can provide novel genetic variation to fuel rapid evolutionary responses, though it may be counterbalanced by potential for detrimental disruption of the recipient genomic background. We examine the extent and impact of recent introgression of a strongly selected insecticide-resistance mutation (Vgsc-1014F) located within one of two exceptionally large genomic islands of divergence separating the Anopheles gambiae species pair. Here we show that transfer of the Vgsc mutation results in homogenization of the entire genomic island region (~1.5% of the genome) between species. Despite this massive disruption, introgression is clearly adaptive with a dramatic rise in frequency of Vgsc-1014F and no discernable impact on subsequent reproductive isolation between species. Our results show (1) how resilience of genomes to massive introgression can permit rapid adaptive response to anthropogenic selection and (2) that even extreme prominence of genomic islands of divergence can be an unreliable indicator of importance in speciation.

Mutation and introgression combine to confer strong DDT resistance in Anopheles gambiae

Mitchell, S.N, Rigden, D.J., Dowd, A.J., Lu, F., Wilding, C.S., Weetman, D., Dadzie, S., Jenkins, A.M., Regna, K., Boko, P., Djogbenou, L., Muskavitch, M.A.T., Ranson, H., Paine, M.J.I., Mayans, O. and Donnelly, M.J. (2014) 

The development of resistance to insecticides has become a classic exemplar of evolution occurring within human time scales. In this study we demonstrate how resistance to DDT in the major African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae is a result of both target-site resistance mechanisms that have introgressed between incipient species (the M- and S-molecular forms) and allelic variants in a DDT-detoxifying enzyme. Sequencing of the detoxification enzyme, Gste2, from DDT resistant and susceptible strains of An. gambiae, revealed a non-synonymous polymorphism (I114T), proximal to the DDT binding domain, which segregated with strain phenotype. Recombinant protein expression and DDT metabolism analysis revealed that the proteins from the susceptible strain lost activity at higher DDT concentrations, characteristic of substrate inhibition. The effect of I114T on GSTE2 protein structure was explored through X-ray crystallography. The amino acid exchange in the DDT-resistant strain introduced a hydroxyl group nearby the hydrophobic DDT-binding region. The exchange does not result in structural alterations but is predicted to facilitate local dynamics and enzyme activity. Expression of both wild-type and 114T alleles the allele in Drosophila conferred an increase in DDT tolerance. The 114T mutation was significantly associated with DDT resistance in wild caught M-form populations and acts in concert with target-site mutations in the voltage gated sodium channel (Vgsc-1575Y and Vgsc-1014F) to confer extreme levels of DDT resistance in wild caught An. gambiae.

CYP6 P450 Enzymes and ACE-1 Duplication Produce Extreme and Multiple Insecticide Resistance in the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Edi, C.V., Djogbénou, L., Jenkins, A.M., Regna, K., Muskavitch, M.A.T., Jones, C.M., Kétoh, G.K., Koudou, B.G., Donnelly, M.J., Ranson, H. and Weetman, D. (2014) 

Malaria control relies heavily on pyrethroid insecticides, to which susceptibility is declining in Anopheles mosquitoes. To combat pyrethroid resistance, application of alternative insecticides is advocated for indoor residual spraying (IRS), and carbamates are increasingly important. Emergence of a very strong carbamate resistance phenotype in Anopheles gambiae from Tiassalé, Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, is therefore a potentially major operational challenge, particularly because these malaria vectors now exhibit resistance to multiple insecticide classes. We investigated the genetic basis of resistance to the most commonly-applied carbamate, bendiocarb, in An. gambiae from Tiassalé. Geographically-replicated whole genome microarray experiments identified elevated P450 enzyme expression as associated with bendiocarb resistance, most notably genes from the CYP6 subfamily. P450s were further implicated in resistance phenotypes by induction of significantly elevated mortality to bendiocarb by the synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO), which also enhanced the action of pyrethroids and an organophosphate. CYP6P3 and especially CYP6M2 produced bendiocarb resistance via transgenic expression in Drosophila in addition to pyrethroid resistance for both genes, and DDT resistance for CYP6M2 expression. CYP6M2 can thus cause resistance to three distinct classes of insecticide although the biochemical mechanism for carbamates is unclear because, in contrast to CYP6P3, recombinant CYP6M2 did not metabolise bendiocarb in vitro. Strongly bendiocarb resistant mosquitoes also displayed elevated expression of the acetylcholinesterase ACE-1 gene, arising at least in part from gene duplication, which confers a survival advantage to carriers of additional copies of resistant ACE-1 G119S alleles. Our results are alarming for vector-based malaria control. Extreme carbamate resistance in Tiassalé An. gambiae results from coupling of over-expressed target site allelic variants with heightened CYP6 P450 expression, which also provides resistance across contrasting insecticides. Mosquito populations displaying such a diverse basis of extreme and cross-resistance are likely to be unresponsive to standard insecticide resistance management practices.

A cis-regulatory sequence driving metabolic insecticide resistance in mosquitoes: functional characterisation and signatures of selection

Wilding, C.S., Smith, I., Lynd, A., Yawson, A.E, Weetman, D., Paine M.J.I. and Donnelly, M.J. (2012) 

Although cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes are frequently up-regulated in mosquitoes resistant to insecticides, no regulatory motifs driving these expression differences with relevance to wild populations have been identified. Transposable elements (TEs) are often enriched upstream of those CYP450s involved in insecticide resistance, leading to the assumption that they contribute regulatory motifs that directly underlie the resistance phenotype. A partial CuRE1 (Culex Repetitive Element 1) transposable element is found directly upstream of CYP9M10, a cytochrome P450 implicated previously in larval resistance to permethrin in the ISOP450 strain of Culex quinquefasciatus, but is absent from the equivalent genomic region of a susceptible strain. Via expression of CYP9M10 in Escherichia coli we have now demonstrated time- and NADPH-dependant permethrin metabolism, prerequisites for confirmation of a role in metabolic resistance, and through qPCR shown that CYP9M10 is >20-fold over-expressed in ISOP450 compared to a susceptible strain. In a fluorescent reporter assay the region upstream of CYP9M10 from ISOP450 drove 10× expression compared to the equivalent region (lacking CuRE1) from the susceptible strain. Close correspondence with the gene expression fold-change implicates the upstream region including CuRE1 as a cis-regulatory element involved in resistance. Only a single CuRE1 bearing allele, identical to the CuRE1 bearing allele in the resistant strain, is found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast to the diversity encountered in non-CuRE1 alleles. This suggests a single origin and subsequent spread due to selective advantage. CuRE1 is detectable using a simple diagnostic. When applied to C. quinquefasciatus larvae from Ghana we have demonstrated a significant association with permethrin resistance in multiple field sites (mean Odds Ratio = 3.86) suggesting this marker has relevance to natural populations of vector mosquitoes. However, when CuRE1 was excised from the allele used in the reporter assay through fusion PCR, expression was unaffected, indicating that the TE has no direct role in resistance and hence that CuRE1 is acting only as a marker of an as yet unidentified regulatory motif in the association analysis. This suggests that a re-evaluation of the assumption that TEs contribute regulatory motifs involved in gene expression may be necessary.

Footprints of positive selection associated with a novel mutation (N1575Y) in the voltage gated sodium channel of Anopheles gambiae

Jones, C.M., Liyanapathirana, M., Agossa, F.R., Weetman, D., Ranson, H., Donnelly, M.J. and Wilding, C.S. (2012) 

Insecticide resistance is an ideal model to study the emergence and spread of adaptative variants. In the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, this is complemented by a strong public health rationale. In this insect, resistance to pyrethroid and DDT insecticides is strongly associated with the mutations L1014F and L1014S within the para voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC). Across much of West Africa, 1014F frequency approaches fixation. Here, we document the emergence of a mutation, N1575Y, within the linker between domains III-IV of the VGSC. In data extending over 40 kbp of the VGSC 1575Y occurs on only a single long-range haplotype, also bearing 1014F. The 1014F-1575Y haplotype was found in both M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae in West/Central African sample sites separated by up to 2,000 km. In Burkina Faso M form, 1575Y allele frequency rose significantly from 0.053 to 0.172 between 2008 and 2010. Extended haplotype homozygosity analysis of the wild-type 1575N allele showed rapid decay of linkage disequilibrium (LD), in sharp contrast to the extended LD exhibited by 1575Y. A haplotype with long-range LD and high/increasing frequency is a classical sign of strong positive selection acting on a recent mutant. 1575Y occurs ubiquitously on a 1014F haplotypic background, suggesting that the N1575Y mutation compensates for deleterious fitness effects of 1014F and/or confers additional resistance to insecticides. Haplotypic tests of association suggest the latter: The 1014F-1575Y haplotype confers a significant additive benefit above 1014F-1575N for survival to DDT (M form P = 0.03) and permethrin (S form P = 0.003).

Identification and validation of a gene causing cross-resistance between insecticide classes in Anopheles gambiae from Ghana

Mitchell, S.N, Stevenson, B.J., Müller, P., Wilding, C.S., Yawson, A.E., Field S.G., Hemingway, J., Paine, M.J.I., Ranson, H. and Donnelly, M.J. (2012) 

In the last decade there have been marked reductions in malaria incidence in sub-Saharan Africa. Sustaining these reductions will rely upon insecticides to control the mosquito malaria vectors. We report that in the primary African malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, a single enzyme, CYP6M2, confers resistance to two classes of insecticide. This is unique evidence in a disease vector of cross-resistance associated with a single metabolic gene that simultaneously reduces the efficacy of two of the four classes of insecticide routinely used for malaria control. The gene-expression profile of a highly DDT-resistant population of A. gambiae s.s. from Ghana was characterized using a unique whole-genome microarray. A number of genes were significantly overexpressed compared with two susceptible West African colonies, including genes from metabolic families previously linked to insecticide resistance. One of the most significantly overexpressed probe groups (false-discovery rate-adjusted P < 0.0001) belonged to the cytochrome P450 gene CYP6M2. This gene is associated with pyrethroid resistance in wild A. gambiae s.s. populations) and can metabolize both type I and type II pyrethroids in recombinant protein assays. Using in vitro assays we show that recombinant CYP6M2 is also capable of metabolizing the organochlorine insecticide DDT in the presence of solubilizing factor sodium cholate.

Association mapping of insecticide resistance in wild Anopheles gambiae populations: major variants identified in a low-linkage disequilbrium genome

Weetman, D., Wilding, C.S., Steen, K., Morgan, J.C., Simard, F. and Donnelly, M.J. (2010)

Background. Association studies are a promising way to uncover the genetic basis of complex traits in wild populations. Data on population stratification, linkage disequilibrium and distribution of variant effect-sizes for different trait-types are required to predict study success but are lacking for most taxa. We quantified and investigated the impacts of these key variables in a large-scale association study of a strongly selected trait of medical importance: pyrethroid resistance in the African malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Methodology/Principal Findings. We genotyped ≈1500 resistance-phenotyped wild mosquitoes from Ghana and Cameroon using a 1536-SNP array enriched for candidate insecticide resistance gene SNPs. Three factors greatly impacted study power. (1) Population stratification, which was attributable to co-occurrence of molecular forms (M and S), and cryptic within-form stratification necessitating both a partitioned analysis and genomic control. (2) All SNPs of substantial effect (odds ratio, OR>2) were rare (minor allele frequency, MAF<0.05). (3) Linkage disequilibrium (LD) was very low throughout most of the genome. Nevertheless, locally high LD, consistent with a recent selective sweep, and uniformly high ORs in each subsample facilitated significant direct and indirect detection of the known insecticide target site mutation kdr L1014F (OR≈6; P<10−6), but with resistance level modified by local haplotypic background. Conclusion. Primarily as a result of very low LD in wild A. Gambiae, LD-based association mapping is challenging, but is feasible at least for major effect variants, especially where LD is enhanced by selective sweeps. Such variants will be of greatest importance for predictive diagnostic screening.

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