|Research Group:||Vector Biology Unit, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology|
|Address:||Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin|
|Supervisor:||Dr. Elena A. Levashina|
|Doctoral Researcher:||Suzana Zakovic|
The aim of this project is to dissect the role of Imd/REL2 pathway in the mosquito anti-parasite responses. Although some components have been identified in the A. gambiae genome, the pathway remains largely understudied. We propose to characterize the role of REL2 in mosquito responses to bacteria, malaria and to non-pathogenic microsporidia using RNAi silencing of selected pathway components and by developing a series of transgenic mosquito lines with mutated components using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. We expect to identify REL2 signalling nodes that determine pathway specificity to diverse pathogens, and thereby reveal molecular mechanisms of the mosquito defence strategies. Understanding how mosquitoes sense pathogens and mount appropriate defence reactions will advance our understanding of the immune signalling pathways in insects and may suggest new approaches to combat malaria.