Project 8: Symbiotic Bacterial Delivery of RNA Interference to Mosquitoes to Inhibit Diverse Arbovirus Transmission (Ended)
Project Leaders: Grant Hughes and Scott Weaver (UTMB)
Project 8 ended in 2018 when Dr. Grant Hughes departed UTMB Health to take a position at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK.
Investigators: G. Hughes, S. Weaver, M. Debboun
Mosquitoes harbor a variety of bacterial symbionts in their guts and these microbes can influence the ability of viral pathogens to colonize the insect. While gut bacteria can reduce viral loads in the mosquito, rarely do they completely block the pathogen being transferred to humans. To further exacerbate their antiviral activity, gut bacteria can be altered to produce antiviral molecules. Here we will investigate bacteria that are suitable to produce these antiviral molecules, determine which molecules best interfere with Zika virus in mosquitoes and examine how bacteria persist within the mosquito gut. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Harris County Mosquito Control District.