Amy Lynd

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (13)85.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Current transgenic methodology developed for mosquitoes has not been applied widely to the major malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, which has proved more difficult to genetically manipulate than other mosquito species and dipteran insects. In this protocol, we describe ΦC31-mediated site-specific integration of transgenes into the genome of A. gambiae. The ΦC31 system has many advantages over 'classical' transposon-mediated germline transformation systems, because it allows integration of large transgenes at specific, characterized genomic locations. Starting from a general protocol, we have optimized steps from embryo collection to co-injection of transgene-containing plasmid and in vitro-produced ΦC31 integrase mRNA. We also provide tips for screening transgenic larvae. The outlined procedure provides robust transformation in A. gambiae, resulting in homozygous transgenic lines in ∼2-3 months.
    Nature Protocols 07/2014; 9(7):1698-712. · 7.96 Impact Factor
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    Amy Lynd, Philip J McCall
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    ABSTRACT: Knowledge of the interactions between mosquitoes and humans, and how vector control interventions affect them, is sparse. A study exploring host-seeking behaviour at a human-occupied bed net, a key event in such interactions, is reported here. Host-seeking female Anopheles gambiae activity was studied using a human-baited 'sticky-net' (a bed net without insecticide, coated with non-setting adhesive) to trap mosquitoes. The numbers and distribution of mosquitoes captured on each surface of the bed net were recorded and analysed using non-parametric statistical methods and random effects regression analysis. To confirm sticky-net reliability, the experiment was repeated using a pitched sticky-net (tilted sides converging at apex, i.e., neither horizontal nor vertical). The capture efficiency of horizontal and vertical sticky surfaces were compared, and the potential repellency of the adhesive was investigated. In a semi-field experiment, more mosquitoes were caught on the top (74-87%) than on the sides of the net (p < 0.001). In laboratory experiments, more mosquitoes were caught on the top than on the sides in human-baited tests (p < 0.001), significantly different to unbaited controls (p < 0.001) where most mosquitoes were on the sides (p = 0.047). In both experiments, approximately 70% of mosquitoes captured on the top surface were clustered within a 90 x 90 cm (or lesser) area directly above the head and chest (p < 0.001). In pitched net tests, similar clustering occurred over the sleeper's head and chest in baited tests only (p < 0.001). Capture rates at horizontal and vertical surfaces were not significantly different and the sticky-net was not repellent. This study demonstrated that An. gambiae activity occurs predominantly within a limited area of the top surface of bed nets. The results provide support for the two-in-one bed net design for managing pyrethroid-resistant vector populations. Further exploration of vector behaviour at the bed net interface could contribute to additional improvements in insecticide-treated bed net design or the development of novel vector control tools.
    Malaria Journal 07/2013; 12(1):267. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes are frequently up-regulated in mosquitoes resistant to insecticides, no regulatory motifs driving these expression differences with relevance to wild populations have been identified. Transposable elements (TEs) are often enriched upstream of those CYP450s involved in insecticide resistance, leading to the assumption that they contribute regulatory motifs that directly underlie the resistance phenotype. A partial CuRE1 (Culex Repetitive Element 1) transposable element is found directly upstream of CYP9M10, a cytochrome P450 implicated previously in larval resistance to permethrin in the ISOP450 strain of Culex quinquefasciatus, but is absent from the equivalent genomic region of a susceptible strain. Via expression of CYP9M10 in Escherichia coli we have now demonstrated time- and NADPH-dependant permethrin metabolism, prerequisites for confirmation of a role in metabolic resistance, and through qPCR shown that CYP9M10 is >20-fold over-expressed in ISOP450 compared to a susceptible strain. In a fluorescent reporter assay the region upstream of CYP9M10 from ISOP450 drove 10× expression compared to the equivalent region (lacking CuRE1) from the susceptible strain. Close correspondence with the gene expression fold-change implicates the upstream region including CuRE1 as a cis-regulatory element involved in resistance. Only a single CuRE1 bearing allele, identical to the CuRE1 bearing allele in the resistant strain, is found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, in contrast to the diversity encountered in non-CuRE1 alleles. This suggests a single origin and subsequent spread due to selective advantage. CuRE1 is detectable using a simple diagnostic. When applied to C. quinquefasciatus larvae from Ghana we have demonstrated a significant association with permethrin resistance in multiple field sites (mean Odds Ratio = 3.86) suggesting this marker has relevance to natural populations of vector mosquitoes. However, when CuRE1 was excised from the allele used in the reporter assay through fusion PCR, expression was unaffected, indicating that the TE has no direct role in resistance and hence that CuRE1 is acting only as a marker of an as yet unidentified regulatory motif in the association analysis. This suggests that a re-evaluation of the assumption that TEs contribute regulatory motifs involved in gene expression may be necessary.
    Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 06/2012; 42(9):699-707. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a number of organisms sex-biased genes are non-randomly distributed between autosomes and the shared sex chromosome X (or Z). Studies on Anopheles gambiae have produced conflicting results regarding the underrepresentation of male-biased genes on the X chromosome and it is unclear to what extent sexual antagonism, dosage compensation or X-inactivation in the male germline, the evolutionary forces that have been suggested to affect the chromosomal distribution of sex-biased genes, are operational in Anopheles. We performed a meta-analysis of sex-biased gene expression in Anopheles gambiae which provides evidence for a general underrepresentation of male-biased genes on the X-chromosome that increased in significance with the observed degree of sex-bias. A phylogenomic comparison between Drosophila melanogaster, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus also indicates that the Anopheles X chromosome strongly disfavours the evolutionary conservation of male-biased expression and that novel male-biased genes are more likely to arise on autosomes. Finally, we demonstrate experimentally that transgenes situated on the Anopheles gambiae X chromosome are transcriptionally silenced in the male germline. The data presented here support the hypothesis that the observed demasculinization of the Anopheles X chromosome is driven by X-chromosome inactivation in the male germline and by sexual antagonism. The demasculinization appears to be the consequence of a loss of male-biased expression, rather than a failure in the establishment or the extinction of male-biased genes.
    BMC Evolutionary Biology 05/2012; 12:69. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A knowledge gap in mosquito functional genetic analysis is the dearth of characterized regulatory regions that can target tissue specific transgene expression. To broaden the tools available, a promoter region of the Anopheles gambiaeα-tubulin1b gene has been assayed following fusion to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene and stable transformation of An. gambiae. In eight transgenic lines, the Angtub α1b regulatory region directed a core profile of tissue specific expression in the head, chordotonal organs, ventral nerve cord and testes. This profile overlaps those seen for α2-tubulin expression in Drosophila melanogaster and Bombyx mori. In addition, widespread position dependant expression was observed in other specific tissues that were unique to each line. For example, in different lines, expression was observed in larval and adult muscles, fatbody, cuticle and midgut secretory cells. The majority of genomic transgene insertions were mapped to within 10 kb of a gene, suggesting that the Angtub α1b basal promoter is particularly sensitive to enhancers and may be suitable to form the basis of a sensitive enhancer trapping construct, in combination with a binary expression system such as Gal4-UAS.
    Insect Molecular Biology 02/2012; 21(1):79-88. · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    Amy Lynd, Gareth John Lycett
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    ABSTRACT: Functional genetic analysis in Anopheles gambiae would be greatly improved by the development of a binary expression system, which would allow the more rapid and flexible characterisation of genes influencing disease transmission, including those involved in insecticide resistance, parasite interaction, host and mate seeking behaviour. The Gal4-UAS system, widely used in Drosophila melanogaster functional genetics, has been significantly modified to achieve robust application in several different species. Towards this end, previous work generated a series of modified Gal4 constructs that were up to 20 fold more active than the native gene in An. gambiae cells. To examine the Gal4-UAS system in vivo, transgenic An. gambiae driver lines carrying a modified Gal4 gene under the control of the carboxypeptidase promoter, and responder lines carrying UAS regulated luciferase and eYFP reporter genes have been created. Crossing of the Gal4 and UAS lines resulted in progeny that expressed both reporters in the expected midgut specific pattern. Although there was minor variation in reporter gene activity between the different crosses examined, the tissue specific expression pattern was consistent regardless of the genomic location of the transgene cassettes. The results show that the modified Gal4-UAS system can be used to successfully activate expression of transgenes in a robust and tissue specific manner in Anopheles gambiae. The midgut driver and dual reporter responder constructs are the first to be developed and tested successfully in transgenic An. gambiae and provide the basis for further advancement of the system in this and other insect species.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(2):e31552. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • A Lynd, Gareth J Lycett
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    ABSTRACT: The development of the bipartite Gal4-UAS system in Anopheles gambiae would improve the functional characterization of genes in this important malaria vector. Towards this aim, we used Gal4 driver plasmids to successfully activate expression of the reporter gene, luciferase, from UAS responder plasmids when cotransfected into an An. gambiae cell line. To optimize Gal4-regulated gene expression in mosquitoes, we compared the efficiency of a series of alternative Gal4 transactivators to drive reporter gene expression from responder plasmids incorporating different numbers of tandemly arrayed Gal4 binding sites or upstream activation sequences (UAS). The results indicated that the native Gal4 is only weakly active in these cells. Modified forms of Gal4, including those carrying minimal VP16 activation domains, as well as a deleted form of Gal4, give up to 20-fold greater activity than the native protein, when used in conjunction with a responder plasmid having 14 UAS repeats. The identification of Gal4-UAS vectors that are efficiently expressed in a mosquito cell line should facilitate the transfer of this versatile expression system to An. gambiae, and potentially to other insects of medical importance.
    Insect Molecular Biology 06/2011; 20(5):599-608. · 3.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alleles subject to strong, recent positive selection will be swept toward fixation together with contiguous sections of the genome. Whether the genomic signatures of such selection will be readily detectable in outbred wild populations is unclear. In this study, we employ haplotype diversity analysis to examine evidence for selective sweeps around knockdown resistance (kdr) mutations associated with resistance to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and pyrethroid insecticides in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Both kdr mutations have significantly lower haplotype diversity than the wild-type (nonresistant) allele, with kdr L1014F showing the most pronounced footprint of selection. We complement these data with a time series of collections showing that the L1014F allele has increased in frequency from 0.05 to 0.54 in 5 years, consistent with a maximum likelihood-fitted selection coefficient of 0.16 and a dominance coefficient of 0.25. Our data show that strong, recent positive selective events, such as those caused by insecticide resistance, can be identified in wild insect populations.
    Molecular Biology and Evolution 05/2010; 27(5):1117-25. · 10.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: How often insecticide resistance mutations arise in natural insect populations is a fundamental question for understanding the evolution of resistance and also for modeling its spread. Moreover, the development of resistance is regarded as a favored model to study the molecular evolution of adaptive traits. In the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae two point mutations (L1014F and L1014S) in the voltage-gated sodium channel gene, that confer knockdown resistance (kdr) to DDT and pyrethroid insecticides, have been described. In order to determine whether resistance alleles result from single or multiple mutation events, genotyping of the kdr locus and partial sequencing of the upstream intron-1 was performed on a total of 288 A. gambiae S-form collected from 28 localities in 15 countries. Knockdown resistance alleles were found to be widespread in West Africa with co-occurrence of both 1014S and 1014F in West-Central localities. Differences in intron-1 haplotype composition suggest that kdr alleles may have arisen from at least four independent mutation events. Neutrality tests provided evidence for a selective sweep acting on this genomic region, particularly in West Africa. The frequency and distribution of these kdr haplotypes varied geographically, being influenced by an interplay between different mutational occurrences, gene flow and local selection. This has important practical implications for the management and sustainability of malaria vector control programs.
    PLoS ONE 02/2007; 2(11):e1243. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Point mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel gene involved in knockdown resistance to DDT and pyrethroid insecticides have been described in several insect species. In the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto (Diptera: Culicidae) two mutations have been identified. The first, consisting of a leucine-phenylalanine substitution at amino acid position 1014, is widespread in West Africa. The second, a leucine-serine substitution at the same position, has to date only been detected in western Kenya. Analysis of the kdr polymorphism in a sample of 106 An. gambiae s.s. of the rDNA S-form/Type I collected in Libreville (Gabon) surprisingly revealed the presence of both East and West African kdr mutations with frequencies of 63% and 37%, respectively. No wild-type alleles were detected and there was an excess of heterozygous genotypes (P = 0.04). In addition, an inconsistency was found during the kdr genotyping procedures by polymerase chain reaction, which could have lead to an underestimation of resistance alleles. The implications of these findings are discussed.
    Medical and Veterinary Entomology 04/2006; 20(1):27-32. · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wolbachia is a common maternally inherited bacterial symbiont able to induce crossing sterilities known as cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) in insects. Wolbachia-modified sperm are unable to complete fertilization of uninfected ova, but a rescue function allows infected eggs to develop normally. By providing a reproductive advantage to infected females, Wolbachia can rapidly invade uninfected populations, and this could provide a mechanism for driving transgenes through pest populations. CI can also occur between Wolbachia-infected populations and is usually associated with the presence of different Wolbachia strains. In the Culex pipiens mosquito group (including the filariasis vector C. quinquefasciatus) a very unusual degree of complexity of Wolbachia-induced crossing-types has been reported, with partial or complete CI that can be unidirectional or bidirectional, yet no Wolbachia strain variation was found. Here we show variation between incompatible Culex strains in two Wolbachia ankyrin repeat-encoding genes associated with a prophage region, one of which is sex-specifically expressed in some strains, and also a direct effect of the host nuclear genome on CI rescue.
    Nature 08/2005; 436(7048):257-60. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A single base pair mutation in the sodium channel confers knock-down resistance to pyrethroids in many insect species. Its occurrence in Anopheles mosquitoes may have important implications for malaria vector control especially considering the current trend for large scale pyrethroid-treated bednet programmes. Screening Anopheles gambiae populations for the kdr mutation has become one of the mainstays of programmes that monitor the development of insecticide resistance. The screening is commonly performed using a multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which, since it is reliant on a single nucleotide polymorphism, can be unreliable. Here we present a reliable and potentially high throughput method for screening An. gambiae for the kdr mutation. A Hot Ligation Oligonucleotide Assay (HOLA) was developed to detect both the East and West African kdr alleles in the homozygous and heterozygous states, and was optimized for use in low-tech developing world laboratories. Results from the HOLA were compared to results from the multiplex PCR for field and laboratory mosquito specimens to provide verification of the robustness and sensitivity of the technique. The HOLA assay, developed for detection of the kdr mutation, gives a bright blue colouration for a positive result whilst negative reactions remain colourless. The results are apparent within a few minutes of adding the final substrate and can be scored by eye. Heterozygotes are scored when a sample gives a positive reaction to the susceptible probe and the kdr probe. The technique uses only basic laboratory equipment and skills and can be carried out by anyone familiar with the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. A comparison to the multiplex PCR method showed that the HOLA assay was more reliable, and scoring of the plates was less ambiguous. The method is capable of detecting both the East and West African kdr alleles in the homozygous and heterozygous states from fresh or dried material using several DNA extraction methods. It is more reliable than the traditional PCR method and may be more sensitive for the detection of heterozygotes. It is inexpensive, simple and relatively safe making it suitable for use in resource-poor countries.
    Malaria Journal 02/2005; 4(1):16. · 3.49 Impact Factor