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Open Access Research article

Transcription profiling of a recently colonised pyrethroid resistant Anopheles gambiae strain from Ghana

Pie Müller*, Martin J Donnelly and Hilary Ranson

Author Affiliations

Vector Group, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:36  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-36

Published: 29 January 2007



Mosquito resistance to the pyrethroid insecticides used to treat bednets threatens the sustainability of malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa. While the impact of target site insensitivity alleles is being widely discussed the implications of insecticide detoxification – though equally important – remains elusive. The successful development of new tools for malaria intervention and management requires a comprehensive understanding of insecticide resistance, including metabolic resistance mechanisms. Although three enzyme families (cytochrome P450s, glutathione S-transferases and carboxylesterases) have been widely associated with insecticide detoxification the role of individual enzymes is largely unknown.


Here, constitutive expression patterns of genes putatively involved in conferring pyrethroid resistance was investigated in a recently colonised pyrethroid resistant Anopheles gambiae strain from Odumasy, Southern Ghana. RNA from the resistant strain and a standard laboratory susceptible strain, of both sexes was extracted, reverse transcribed and labelled with either Cy3- or Cy5-dye. Labelled cDNA was co-hybridised to the detox chip, a custom-made microarray containing over 230 A. gambiae gene fragments predominantly from enzyme families associated with insecticide resistance. After hybridisation, Cy3- and Cy5-signal intensities were measured and compared gene by gene. In both females and males of the resistant strain the cytochrome P450s CYP6Z2 and CYP6M2 are highly over-expressed along with a member of the superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene family.


These genes differ from those found up-regulated in East African strains of pyrethroid resistant A. gambiae and constitute a novel set of candidate genes implicated in insecticide detoxification. These data suggest that metabolic resistance may have multiple origins in A. gambiae, which has strong implications for the management of resistance.