The Pondeville Group


Image of two female researchers looking at mosquitoes in the insectaries.

Interplays between physiology and arbovirus infection in mosquito vectors

Male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar to get sugars, which are required for their energy and survival. In addition, females from many mosquito species, such as Aedes aegypti, must get a blood meal from a vertebrate host to obtain the necessary proteins to develop their eggs. This requirement for a blood meal results in Ae. aegypti being a vector of numerous arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses; e.g. dengue [DENV], chikungunya [CHIKV], Zika [ZIKV] viruses), which are global public health threats and economic burdens.

Dr Pondeville’s lab seek to identify the factors that shape mosquito vector competence and how they can impact on global pathogen transmission. Using the CVR state-of-the-art CL2 and CL3 insectaries as well as modern transgenic facilities, we investigate how the mosquito life traits and physiology influence arbovirus infection, mosquito tissue-specific antiviral responses and further transmission.

Our research is critical for both the fundamental understanding of disease emergence and the development and application of vector control strategies to block arbovirus transmission.

Watch a film about the CVR Insectaries 

Current research

Analysing how mosquito life traits and physiology influences antiviral immunity and vector competence

We are analysing the influence of sugar and blood feeding on antiviral immunity and vector competence. In addition to this we are also analysing the influence of mating on antiviral immunity and vector competence.

Photo of two mosquitoes and one of them has been fed blue sugar which you can see.

Aedes aegypti females fed with blue-coloured sugar (left) or not (right).

 

 Characterising the importance of the interrelationships between microbiota, nutrition and host physiology

We investigate how the mosquito microbiome influences host nutrition and metabolism and how this in turn affects physiology (immunity, reproduction) and vector competence in the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti.

Diagram of a mosquito showing their digestive system

Mosquitoes host communities of microbes in their digestive tract, which influences various aspects of their biology including vector competence.

 

Developing mosquito genetic tools to study mosquito-arbovirus interactions

We establish transgenic mosquitoes using site-specific transformation techniques and develop genetic tools such as the Gal4/UAS system to address gene function at the tissue level.

Photo showing microinjection of mosquito eggs (left) and GFP transgenic larvae (right).

Microinjection of mosquito eggs (left) and GFP transgenic larvae (right).

 

Identifying and characterizing mosquito genes involved in vector competence

In collaboration with other CVR research groups, we are identifing mosquito genes involved in arbovirus infection in vitro and further characterising them in vivo.

Confocal microscope image showing female mosquito midgut

Four identical confocal images symmetrically organized showing the female mosquito midgut, an epithelium (cell nuclei in blue) surrounded by visceral muscles (green). The protein p400 (stained in red) is expressed in tracheae, the respiratory system of insects. Credit: Former PhD student Floriane Almire (Awarded by 3I’S IMAGING COMPETITION).

 

Determining the roles of arboviral proteins during mosquito infection

In collaboration with other CVR members, we are investigating the role of bunyamwera NS proteins during mosquito infection

A confocal microscope image of a mosquito gut infected with bunyamwera virus

 Mosquito gut infected with BUNV (green).

 

Examining how mosquito saliva-derived factors influence arbovirus infection in mammals

In collaboration with Dr McKimmie (University of Leeds), we are characterising how mosquito biting and saliva enhances infection with a broad range of mosquito-borne viruses.

 

 

Research group members  

  

  David Kerrigan

  Research Technician

A profile picture of Selim Terhzaz 

Dr Selim Terhzaz

Research Associate

 

 

 
         

Collaborators

Internal

External

  • Dr Clive McKimmie, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

  • Dr Julie Reveillaud, INRA, France

  • Dr Mathilde Gendrin, Institut Pasteur, French Guiana

  • Dr Anna-Bella Failloux , Institut Pasteur, France

  • Dr Eric Marois, University of Strasbourg, France

 

Grants

MRC Quinquennial Core Funds to CVR “Arbovirus interactions with arthropod hosts”” 2016-2023

EU Horizon 2020 INFRAVEC-2 “Task 1.5 Develop and improve genetic editing and analysis tools in mosquitoes” 2017-2021

Zikalliance European commission, 2016-2019