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Comparative genomics

Insecticide resistance in mosquito vectors

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 20 May 2004

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 25 September 2003


Resistance to insecticides among mosquitoes that act as vectors for malaria (Anopheles gambiae) and West Nile virus (Culex pipiens) emerged more than 25 years ago in Africa, America and Europe; this resistance is frequently due to a loss of sensitivity of the insect's acetylcholinesterase enzyme to organophosphates and carbamates1. Here we show that this insensitivity results from a single amino-acid substitution in the enzyme, which we found in ten highly resistant strains of C. pipiens from tropical (Africa and Caribbean) and temperate (Europe) areas, as well as in one resistant African strain of A. gambiae. Our identification of this mutation may pave the way for designing new insecticides.

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Figure 1: Residual acetylcholinesterase activity of susceptible (green squares) and resistant (black diamonds) mosquitoes assayed in homogenates and lysates from transfected S2 cells in the presence of increasing concentrations of the carbamate insecticide Propoxur.


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Correspondence to Mylène Weill.

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Weill, M., Lutfalla, G., Mogensen, K. et al. Insecticide resistance in mosquito vectors. Nature 423, 136–137 (2003).

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