A neurotoxin that specifically targets Anopheles mosquitoes

Estefania Contreras, Geoffrey Masuyer, Nadia Qureshi, Swati Chawla, Harpal S. Dhillon, Han Lim Lee, Jianwu Chen, Pål Stenmark, Sarjeet S. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Clostridial neurotoxins, including tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins, generally target vertebrates. We show here that this family of toxins has a much broader host spectrum, by identifying PMP1, a clostridial-like neurotoxin that selectively targets anopheline mosquitoes. Isolation of PMP1 from Paraclostridium bifermentans strains collected in anopheline endemic areas on two continents indicates it is widely distributed. The toxin likely evolved from an ancestral form that targets the nervous system of similar organisms, using a common mechanism that disrupts SNARE-mediated exocytosis. It cleaves the mosquito syntaxin and employs a unique receptor recognition strategy. Our research has an important impact on the study of the evolution of clostridial neurotoxins and provides the basis for the use of P. bifermentans strains and PMP1 as innovative, environmentally friendly approaches to reduce malaria through anopheline control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2869
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
Volume10
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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