Ana RIVERO – Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (Montpellier – France)
Avian malaria is the oldest experimental system for investigating the biology and transmission of Plasmodium parasites. It was the model used by Ross in 1898 to demonstrate that malaria was transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, but fell out of fashion when rodent malaria was discovered in the 1950’s. Avian malaria has recently come back to the research scene as a unique animal model to understand the ecology and evolution of the disease, both in the field and in the laboratory. I will take stock of our most recent work on avian malaria, which has focused on the interactions between Plasmodium relictum, the most prevalent avian malaria lineage in Europe, and its natural vector, the mosquito Culex pipiens. We have been working on identifying the sources of heterogeneity in mosquito infection rates and infected mosquito fitness. I will give a whistle stop tour of some of the results we have obtained, but will focus on the effects of bacterial co-infections on the outcome of Plasmodium infections in mosquitoes.
Wolbachia is the most common parasitic microorganism in insects and as such it is of special interest for understanding the role of coinfections on vector-transmitted diseases. I shall present results of several experiments suggesting that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes may be better vectors of malaria than Wolbachia-free ones. I shall discuss our results in light of current efforts to use Wolbachia as a disease control method using artificially Wolbachia-transfected mosquitoes.
Contact : Kenneth VERNICK (firstname.lastname@example.org – Poste 36.42)