Paternal transmission of symbiotic bacteria in malaria vectors

Claudia Damiani, Irene Ricci, Elena Crotti, Paolo Rossi, Aurora Rizzi, Patrizia Scuppa, Fulvio Esposito, Claudio Bandi, Daniele Daffonchio, Guido Favia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Bacteria of the genus Asaia are associated with different species of malaria vectors and are located in the midgut, salivary glands and reproductive organs of female and male mosquitoes. Based on current evidence, the spreading of these bacteria in mosquito populations occurs through different mechanisms: co-feeding, sexual mating, and maternal transmission [1,2]. Even though paternal transmission of insect symbionts to progeny is not commonplace, the presence of Asaia in the male reproductive organs makes this additional transmission route worth being investigated. Here, we show that male-borne Asaia are transferred to females during the mating of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes. Subsequently, the bacteria acquired by the female are vertically transmitted to the progeny. It would thus be possible to use male mosquitoes, which do not bite, to spread Asaia strains interfering with malaria transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1087-R1088
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 9 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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