Bacteria of the genus Asaia stably associate with Anopheles stephensi, an Asian malarial mosquito vector

Guido Favia, Irene Ricci, Claudia Damiani, Noura Raddadi, Elena Crotti, Massimo Marzorati, Aurora Rizzi, Roberta Urso, Lorenzo Brusetti, Sara Borin, Diego Mora, Patrizia Scuppa, Luciano Pasqualini, Emanuela Clementi, Marco Genchi, Silvia Corona, Maria Negri, Giulio Grandi, Alberto Alma, Laura KramerFulvio Esposito, Claudio Bandi, Luciano Sacchi, Daniele Daffonchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we show that an α-proteobacterium of the genus Asaia is stably associated with larvae and adults of Anopheles stephensi, an important mosquito vector of Plasmodium vivax, a main malaria agent in Asia. Asaia bacteria dominate mosquito-associated microbiota, as shown by 16S rRNA gene abundance, quantitative PCR, transmission electron microscopy and in situ-hybridization of 16S rRNA genes. In adult mosquitoes, Asaia sp. is present in high population density in the female gut and in the male reproductive tract. Asaia sp. from An. stephensi has been cultured in cell-free media and then transformed with foreign DNA. A green fluorescent protein-tagged Asaia sp. strain effectively lodged in the female gut and salivary glands, sites that are crucial for Plasmodium sp. development and transmission. The larval gut and the male reproductive system were also colonized by the transformed Asaia sp. strain. As an efficient inducible colonizer of mosquitoes that transmit Plasmodium sp., Asaia sp. may be a candidate for malaria control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9047-9051
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - May 22 2007


  • Insect vector
  • Malaria
  • Symbiotic control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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