Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology
Foundation for Research and Technology,
Understanding the mechanisms by which disease vectors and agricultural pests develop resistance to insecticides, as well as exploring novel insecticide targets and biotechnology based approaches to control insects.
We investigate the mechanisms by which insects develop resistance to insecticides. Our approaches include classical bioassays and biotechnology-based approaches for the identification and validation of resistance mechanisms. The latter include recombinant enzyme-based techniques, in vivo functional approaches (ectopically expressed genes, CRISPR/Cas9 etc), immunolocalisation, electron microscopy (TEM, SEM) etc. Several insecticide resistance mechanisms in mosquitoes and agricultural pests were functionally elucidated recently (Figure 1, 2 and 3).
Figure 1. Insecticide resistant Anopheles gambiae "walking apathetic" on impregnated bednets. Modification of epicuticular hydrocarbons and remodeling of leg cuticles, as well as the overexpression of leg-enriched sensory appendage proteins (SAP2) confers pyrethroid resistance, by sequestering and substantially delaying insecticide uptake, giving time to detoxification mechanisms to detoxify them, thus producing striking insecticide resistance phenotypes. Ingham VA, et al. (2020) Nature 577:376-380; Balabanidou et al. (2019) Proc R Soc B 286:20191091
Figure 2. Operation of a rare evolutionary strategy for circumventing pesticide resistance in the major bee parasite. Reduced proinsecticide activation by cytochrome P450 confers coumaphos resistance in the major bee parasite Varroa destructor (Vlogiannitis et al (2021) PNAS 118, e2020380118)
Figure 3. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome modification to understand the genetic basis of insecticide resistance (Douris et al (2020) Pest Biochem Phys. 167:104595
Holistic biotechnology based approaches using state-of the-art technologies (transcriptomics, proteomics, functional and cell based assays – Pharma models) are applied to enable the identification of potential molecular targets in insect pests and mosquitoes, as well as elucidate the insecticide pharmacokinetics (cross midgut epithelium etc – Denecke et al IBMB 103, 22-35).
PhD Student - CRISPR: advanced systems for evaluating resistance mutations in drosophila and cell based assays for insecticide targets discovery, firstname.lastname@example.org