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Impactful malaria science, and the trailblazers leading the fight. A podcast from the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.

Jul 8, 2022

Researchers at Johns Hopkins and NIH genetically engineered malaria-carrying mosquitoes to block malaria infection in the human skin.


Without mosquitoes, malaria can't be transmitted. To establish infection, the malaria parasite must move in the human skin to find a blood vessel.

It’s able to move by activating a human protein called plasminogen which is converted into a potent enzyme called plasmin. This breaks down the skin protein network, allowing the parasite to move.

But one protein called PAI-1 stops this conversion.

Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins and the NIH have genetically engineered mosquitoes to produce PAI-1. The mosquito delivers the parasite with saliva. If the salvia contains the PAI-1 inhibitor, the parasite can’t move and find a blood vessel.

In addition, the protein also blocks a different stage of parasite development in the mosquito gut.

Engineering mosquitoes to produce PAI-1 could block malaria transmission.


Transgenic Anopheles mosquitoes expressing human PAI-1 impair malaria transmissionCollective migration reveals mechanical flexibility of malaria parasites

About The Podcast

The Johns Hopkins Malaria Minute podcast is produced by the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute to highlight impactful malaria research and to share it with the global community.