The mosquito adulticidal Chromobacterium sp. Panama causes transgenerational impacts on fitness parameters and elicits xenobiotic gene responses

Sarah M. Short, Sarah Van Tol, Brendan Smith, Yuemei Dong, George Dimopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Vector control is critical in reducing the disease burden caused by mosquitoes, and insecticides are an effective tool to control vector populations. Resistance to common insecticides is now widespread, and novel classes of insecticides are needed. In previous work, we described the mosquitocidal activity of Chromobacterium sp. Panama (C.sp-P), a bacterium found in association with mosquitoes in natural populations. In the current work, we further explored the effects of exposure to the bacterium on mosquito fitness and mosquito physiology. Results: We found that C.sp-P has mosquitocidal activity against a broad range of mosquito taxa. When exposed to C.sp-P as adults, female An. gambiae suffered reduced longevity, but experienced no change in fecundity. The offspring of these females, however, had higher mortality as larvae and were slower to develop compared to offspring of control females. We also found that the mosquitocidal activity of C.sp-P was retained after removal of live cells from biofilm culture media, suggesting the bacteria secrete mosquitocidal compound(s) into the media during growth. Exposure to this cell-free C.sp-P-conditioned media caused female midgut transcriptional changes comprising detoxification, xenobiotic response, and stress response genes, suggesting the physiological response to C.sp-P is similar to that of insecticide exposure. Finally, we found that multiple members of the Chromobacterium genus had mosquitocidal activity, but this activity was highest in mosquitoes treated with C.sp-P. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that C.sp-P produces factor(s) with strong effects on mosquito longevity and fitness, which may be of interest for mosquitocide development. More generally, they indicate that further exploration of mosquito-associated and environmental microbes for novel insecticidal compounds or biocontrol agents is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number229
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 5 2018


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Chromobacterium
  • Host-microbe interactions
  • Mosquito
  • Mosquitocide
  • Transcriptome
  • Vector control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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