Imperial College London

ProfessorAndreaCrisanti

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Professor of Molecular Parasitology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 5395a.drcrisanti

 
 
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Assistant

 

Mrs Lucy Collyns +44 (0)20 7594 5395

 
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Location

 

549Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

208 results found

Dorigatti I, Lavezzo E, Manuto L, Ciavarella C, Pacenti M, Boldrin C, Cattai M, Saluzzo F, Franchin E, Del Vecchio C, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nicoletti M, Nieddu E, Salvadoretti E, Labella B, Fava L, Guglielmo S, Fascina M, Grazioli M, Alvisi G, Vanuzzo MC, Zupo T, Calandrin R, Lisi V, Rossi L, Castagliuolo I, Merigliano S, Unwin HJT, Plebani M, Padoan A, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Ferguson NM, Donnelly CA, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody dynamics and transmission from community-wide serological testing in the Italian municipality of Vo' (vol 12, 4383, 2021), NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

Hammond A, Pollegioni P, Persampieri T, North A, Minuz R, Trusso A, Bucci A, Kyrou K, Morianou I, Simoni A, Nolan T, Müller R, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, Gene-drive suppression of mosquito populations in large cages as a bridge between lab and field., Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2041-1723

CRISPR-based gene-drives targeting the gene doublesex in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae effectively suppressed the reproductive capability of mosquito populations reared in small laboratory cages. To bridge the gap between laboratory and the field, this gene-drive technology must be challenged with vector ecology.Here we report the suppressive activity of the gene-drive in age-structured An. gambiae populations in large indoor cages that permit complex feeding and reproductive behaviours.The gene-drive element spreads rapidly through the populations, fully supresses the population within one year and without selecting for resistance to the gene drive. Approximate Bayesian computation allowed retrospective inference of life-history parameters from the large cages and a more accurate prediction of gene-drive behaviour under more ecologically-relevant settings.Generating data to bridge laboratory and field studies for invasive technologies is challenging. Our study represents a paradigm for the stepwise and sound development of vector control tools based on gene-drive.

Journal article

Dorigatti I, Lavezzo E, Manuto L, Ciavarella C, Pacenti M, Boldrin C, Cattai M, Saluzzo F, Franchin E, Del Vecchio C, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nicoletti M, Nieddu E, Salvadoretti E, Labella B, Fava L, Guglielmo S, Gascina M, Grazioli M, Alvisi G, Vanuzzo MC, Zupo T, Calandrin R, Lisi V, Rossi L, Castagliuolo I, Merigliano S, Unwin J, Plebani M, Padoan A, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Ferguson N, Donnelly C, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody dynamics and transmission from community-wide serological testing in the Italian municipality of Vo’, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2041-1723

In February and March 2020, two mass swab testing campaigns were conducted in Vo’, Italy. In May 2020, we tested 86% of the Vo’ population with three immuno-assays detecting antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid antigens, a neutralisation assay and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Subjects testing positive to PCR in February/March or a serological assay in May were tested again in November. Here we report on the results of the analysis of the May and November surveys. We estimate a seroprevalence of 3.5% (95% Credible Interval (CrI): 2.8%-4.3%) in May. In November, 98.8% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 93.7%-100.0%) of sera which tested positive in May still reacted against at least one antigen; 18.6% (95%CI:11.0%-28.5%) showed an increase of antibody or neutralisation reactivity from May. Analysis of the serostatus of the members of 1,118 households indicates a 26.0% (95%CrI:17.2%-36.9%) Susceptible-Infectious Transmission Probability. Contact tracing had limited impact on epidemic suppression.

Journal article

Garrood WT, Kranjc N, Petri K, Kim DY, Guo JA, Hammond AM, Morianou I, Pattanayak V, Joung JK, Crisanti A, Simoni Aet al., 2021, Analysis of off-target effects in CRISPR-based gene drives in the human malaria mosquito, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Vol: 118, ISSN: 0027-8424

Journal article

Annas GJ, Beisel CL, Clement K, Crisanti A, Francis S, Galardini M, Galizi R, Grunewald J, Immobile G, Khalil AS, Mueller R, Pattanayak V, Petri K, Paul L, Pinello L, Simoni A, Taxiarchi C, Joung JKet al., 2021, A Code of Ethics for Gene Drive Research, CRISPR JOURNAL, Vol: 4, ISSN: 2573-1599

Journal article

Su MP, Georgiades M, Bagi J, Kyrou K, Crisanti A, Albert JTet al., 2020, Assessing the acoustic behaviour of Anopheles gambiae s.l. dsxF mutants: Implications for Vector Control

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>The release of genetically modified mosquitoes which use gene-drive mechanisms to suppress reproduction in natural populations of <jats:italic>Anopheles</jats:italic> mosquitoes is one of the scientifically most promising methods for malaria transmission control. However, many scientific, regulatory and ethical questions remain before transgenic mosquitoes can be utilised in the field. Mutations which reduce an individual’s reproductive success are likely to create strong selective pressures to evolve resistance. It is thus crucial that the targeted population collapses as rapidly and as completely as possible to reduce the available time for the emergence of drive-resistant mutations. At a behavioural level, this means that the gene-drive carrying mutants should be at least as (and ideally more) sexually attractive than the wildtype population they compete against. A key element in the copulatory negotiations of <jats:italic>Anopheles</jats:italic> mosquitoes is their acoustic courtship. We therefore analysed sound emissions and acoustic preference in a <jats:italic>doublesex</jats:italic> mutant previously used to successfully collapse caged colonies of <jats:italic>Anopheles gambiae s</jats:italic>.<jats:italic>l</jats:italic>..</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>The flight tones produced by the beating of their wings form the signals for acoustic mating communication in <jats:italic>Anopheles</jats:italic> species. We assessed the acoustic impact of the disruption of a female-specific isoform of the <jats:italic>doublesex</jats:italic> gene (<jats:italic>dsxF</jats:italic>) on the wing beat frequency (WBF; measured as <jats:italic>flight tone</jats:italic>) of b

Journal article

Borczuk AC, Salvatore SP, Seshan SV, Patel SS, Bussel JB, Mostyka M, Elsoukkary S, He B, Del Vecchio C, Fortarezza F, Pezzuto F, Navalesi P, Crisanti A, Fowkes ME, Bryce CH, Calabrese F, Beasley MBet al., 2020, COVID-19 pulmonary pathology: a multi-institutional autopsy cohort from Italy and New York City, Modern Pathology, ISSN: 0893-3952

SARS-CoV-2, the etiologic agent of COVID-19, is a global pandemic with substantial mortality dominated by acute respiratory distress syndrome. We systematically evaluated lungs of 68 autopsies from 3 institutions in heavily hit areas (2 USA, 1 Italy). Detailed evaluation of several compartments (airways, alveolar walls, airspaces, and vasculature) was performed to determine the range of histologic features. The cohort consisted of 47 males and 21 females with a median age of 73 years (range 30-96). Co-morbidities were present in most patients with 60% reporting at least three conditions. Tracheobronchitis was frequently present, independent from intubation or superimposed pneumonia. Diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) was seen in 87% of cases. Later phases of DAD were less frequent and correlated with longer duration of disease. Large vessel thrombi were seen in 42% of cases but platelet (CD61 positive) and/or fibrin microthrombi were present at least focally in 84%. Ultrastructurally, small vessels showed basal membrane reduplication and significant endothelial swelling with cytoplasmic vacuolization. In a subset of cases, virus was detected using different tools (immunohistochemistry for SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein, RNA in situ hybridization, lung viral culture, and electron microscopy). Virus was seen in airway epithelium and type 2 pneumocytes. IHC or in situ detection, as well as viable form (lung culture positive) was associated with the presence of hyaline membranes, usually within 2 weeks but up to 4 weeks after initial diagnosis. COVID-19 pneumonia is a heterogeneous disease (tracheobronchitis, DAD, and vascular injury), but with consistent features in three centers. The pulmonary vasculature, with capillary microthrombi and inflammation, as well as macrothrombi, is commonly involved. Viral infection in areas of ongoing active injury contributes to persistent and temporally heterogeneous lung damage.

Journal article

Simoni A, Hammond AM, Beaghton AK, Galizi R, Taxiarchi C, Kyrou K, Meacci D, Gribble M, Morselli G, Burt A, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2020, A male-biased sex-distorter gene drive for the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, Nature Biotechnology, Vol: 38, Pages: 1054-1060, ISSN: 1087-0156

Only female insects transmit diseases such as malaria, dengue and Zika; therefore, control methods that bias the sex ratio of insect offspring have long been sought. Genetic elements such as sex-chromosome drives can distort sex ratios to produce unisex populations that eventually collapse, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. We report a male-biased sex-distorter gene drive (SDGD) in the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. We induced super-Mendelian inheritance of the X-chromosome-shredding I-PpoI nuclease by coupling this to a CRISPR-based gene drive inserted into a conserved sequence of the doublesex (dsx) gene. In modeling of invasion dynamics, SDGD was predicted to have a quicker impact on female mosquito populations than previously developed gene drives targeting female fertility. The SDGD at the dsx locus led to a male-only population from a 2.5% starting allelic frequency in 10-14 generations, with population collapse and no selection for resistance. Our results support the use of SDGD for malaria vector control.

Journal article

Lavezzo E, Franchin E, Ciavarella C, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Barzon L, Del Vecchio C, Rossi L, Manganelli R, Loregian A, Navarin N, Abate D, Sciro M, Merigliano S, De Canale E, Vanuzzo MC, Besutti V, Saluzzo F, Onelia F, Pacenti M, Parisi S, Carretta G, Donato D, Flor L, Cocchio S, Masi G, Sperduti A, Cattarino L, Salvador R, Nicoletti M, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nieddu E, Labella B, Fava L, Drigo M, Gaythorpe KAM, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Trevisan M, Baldo V, Donnelly CA, Ferguson NM, Dorigatti I, Crisanti Aet al., 2020, Suppression of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the Italian municipality of Vo', Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: 425-429, ISSN: 0028-0836

On the 21st of February 2020 a resident of the municipality of Vo', a small town near Padua, died of pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection1. This was the first COVID-19 death detected in Italy since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province2. In response, the regional authorities imposed the lockdown of the whole municipality for 14 days3. We collected information on the demography, clinical presentation, hospitalization, contact network and presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nasopharyngeal swabs for 85.9% and 71.5% of the population of Vo' at two consecutive time points. On the first survey, which was conducted around the time the town lockdown started, we found a prevalence of infection of 2.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-3.3%). On the second survey, which was conducted at the end of the lockdown, we found a prevalence of 1.2% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.8-1.8%). Notably, 42.5% (95% CI 31.5-54.6%) of the confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections detected across the two surveys were asymptomatic (i.e. did not have symptoms at the time of swab testing and did not develop symptoms afterwards). The mean serial interval was 7.2 days (95% CI 5.9-9.6). We found no statistically significant difference in the viral load of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infections (p-values 0.62 and 0.74 for E and RdRp genes, respectively, Exact Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test). This study sheds new light on the frequency of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, their infectivity (as measured by the viral load) and provides new insights into its transmission dynamics and the efficacy of the implemented control measures.

Journal article

Cattelan AM, Sasset L, Di Meco E, Cocchio S, Barbaro F, Cavinato S, Gardin S, Carretta G, Donato D, Crisanti A, Trevenzoli M, Baldo Vet al., 2020, An integrated strategy for the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers: a prospective observational study, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1660-4601

BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, a large number of infections have been reported among healthcare workers (HCWs). The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among HCWs involved in the first management of infected patients and to describe the measures adopted to prevent the transmission in the hospital. METHODS: This prospective observational study was conducted between February 21 and April 16, 2020, in the Padua University Hospital (north-east Italy). The infection control policy adopted consisted of the following: the creation of the "Advanced Triage" area for the evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 cases, and the implementation of an integrated infection control surveillance system directed to all the healthcare personnel involved in the Advance Triage area. HCWs were regularly tested with nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2; body temperature and suggestive symptoms were evaluated at each duty. Demographic and clinical data of both patients and HCWs were collected and analyzed; HCWs' personal protective equipment (PPE) consumption was also recorded. The efficiency of the control strategy among HCWs was evaluated identifying symptomatic infection (primary endpoint) and asymptomatic infection (secondary endpoint) with confirmed detection of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: 7595 patients were evaluated in the Advanced Triage area: 5.2% resulted positive and 72.4% was symptomatic. The HCW team was composed of 60 members. A total of 361 nasopharyngeal swabs were performed on HCWs. All the swabs resulted negative and none of the HCWs reached the primary or the secondary endpoint. CONCLUSIONS: An integrated hospital infection control strategy, consisting of dedicated areas for infected patients, strict measures for PPE use and mass surveillance, is successful to prevent infection among HCWs.

Journal article

Simoni A, Hammond AM, Beaghton AK, Galizi R, Taxiarchi C, Kyrou K, Meacci D, Gribble M, Morselli G, Burt A, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2020, A male-biased sex-distorter gene drive for the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae (vol 14, pg 931, 2020), NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, Vol: 38, Pages: 1097-1097, ISSN: 1087-0156

Journal article

Basso D, Aita A, Navaglia F, Franchin E, Fioretto P, Moz S, Bozzato D, Zambon C-F, Martin B, Dal Pra C, Crisanti A, Plebani Met al., 2020, SARS-CoV-2 RNA identification in nasopharyngeal swabs: issues in pre-analytics, CLINICAL CHEMISTRY AND LABORATORY MEDICINE, Vol: 58, Pages: 1579-1586, ISSN: 1434-6621

Journal article

Pollegioni P, North AR, Persampieri T, Bucci A, Minuz RL, Groneberg DA, Nolan T, Papathanos P-A, Crisanti A, Mueller Ret al., 2020, Detecting the population dynamics of an autosomal sex ratio distorter transgene in malariavector mosquitoes, JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, Vol: 57, Pages: 2086-2096, ISSN: 0021-8901

Journal article

Basso C, Calabrese F, Sbaraglia M, Del Vecchio C, Carretta G, Saieva A, Donato D, Flor L, Crisanti A, Dei Tos APet al., 2020, Feasibility of postmortem examination in the era of COVID-19 pandemic: the experience of a Northeast Italy University Hospital, VIRCHOWS ARCHIV, Vol: 477, Pages: 341-347, ISSN: 0945-6317

Journal article

Seccia R, Gammelli D, Dominici F, Romano S, Landi AC, Salvetti M, Tacchella A, Zaccaria A, Crisanti A, Grassi F, Palagi Let al., 2020, Considering patient clinical history impacts performance of machine learning models in predicting course of multiple sclerosis, PLOS ONE, Vol: 15, ISSN: 1932-6203

Journal article

Beaghton AK, Hammond A, Nolan T, Crisanti A, Burt Aet al., 2019, Gene drive for population genetic control: non-functional resistance and parental effects, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol: 286, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 0962-8452

Gene drive is a natural process of biased inheritance that, in principle, could be used to control pest and vector populations. As with any form of pest control, attention should be paid to the possibility of resistance evolving. For nuclease-based gene drive aimed at suppressing a population, resistance could arise by changes in the target sequence that maintain function, and various strategies have been proposed to reduce the likelihood that such alleles arise. Even if these strategies are successful, it is almost inevitable that alleles will arise at the target site that are resistant to the drive but do not restore function, and the impact of such sequences on the dynamics of control has been little studied. We use population genetic modelling of a strategy targeting a female fertility gene to demonstrate that such alleles may be expected to accumulate, and thereby reduce the reproductive load on the population, if nuclease expression per se causes substantial heterozygote fitness effects or if parental (especially paternal) deposition of nuclease either reduces offspring fitness or affects the genotype of their germline. All these phenomena have been observed in synthetic drive constructs. It will, therefore, be important to allow for non-functional resistance alleles in predicting the dynamics of constructs in cage populations and the impacts of any field release.

Journal article

Taxiarchi C, Kranjc N, Kriezis A, Kyrou K, Bernardini F, Russell S, Nolan T, Crisanti A, Galizi Ret al., 2019, High-resolution transcriptional profiling of Anopheles gambiae spermatogenesis reveals mechanisms of sex chromosome regulation, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322

Journal article

Hammond A, Kyrou K, Karlsson X, Galizi R, Kranjc N, Baghton A, Morianou I, Burt A, Crisanti A, Nolan Tet al., 2019, Gene drives for genetic control of the malaria mosquito, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 62-62, ISSN: 2211-5463

Conference paper

Bernardini F, Kriezis A, Galizi R, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2019, Introgression of a synthetic sex ratio distortion system from Anopheles gambiae into Anopheles arabiensis (vol 9, 5158, 2019), SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322

Journal article

Bernardini F, Kriezis A, Galizi R, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2019, Introgression of a synthetic sex ratio distortion system from Anopheles gambiae into Anopheles arabiensis, Scientific Reports, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2045-2322

I-PpoI is a homing endonuclease that has a high cleavage activity and specificity for a conserved sequence within the ribosomal rDNA repeats, located in a single cluster on the Anopheles gambiae X chromosome. This property has been exploited to develop a synthetic sex ratio distortion system in this mosquito species. When I-PpoI is expressed from a transgene during spermatogenesis in mosquitoes, the paternal X chromosome is shredded and only Y chromosome-bearing sperm are viable, resulting in a male-biased sex ratio of >95% in the progeny. These distorter male mosquitoes can efficiently suppress caged wild-type populations, providing a powerful tool for vector control strategies. Given that malaria mosquito vectors belong to a species complex comprising at least two major vectors, we investigated whether the sex distorter I-PpoI, originally integrated in the A. gambiae genome, could be transferred via introgression to the sibling vector species Anopheles arabiensis. In compliance with Haldane’s rule, F1 hybrid male sterility is known to occur in all intercrosses among members of the Anopheles gambiae complex. A scheme based on genetic crosses and transgene selection was used to bypass F1 hybrid male sterility and introgress the sex distorter I-PpoI into the A. arabiensis genetic background. Our data suggest that this sex distortion technique can be successfully applied to target A. arabiensis mosquitoes.

Journal article

Facchinelli L, North AR, Collins CM, Menichelli M, Persampieri T, Bucci A, Spaccapelo R, Crisanti A, Benedict MQet al., 2019, Large-cage assessment of a transgenic sex-ratio distortion strain on populations of an African malaria vector, Parasites & Vectors, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1756-3305

BackgroundNovel transgenic mosquito control methods require progressively more realistic evaluation. The goal of this study was to determine the effect of a transgene that causes a male-bias sex ratio on Anopheles gambiae target populations in large insectary cages.MethodsLife history characteristics of Anopheles gambiae wild type and Ag(PMB)1 (aka gfp124L-2) transgenic mosquitoes, whose progeny are 95% male, were measured in order to parameterize predictive population models. Ag(PMB)1 males were then introduced at two ratios into large insectary cages containing target wild type populations with stable age distributions and densities. The predicted proportion of females and those observed in the large cages were compared. A related model was then used to predict effects of male releases on wild mosquitoes in a west African village.ResultsThe frequency of transgenic mosquitoes in target populations reached an average of 0.44 ± 0.02 and 0.56 ± 0.02 after 6 weeks in the 1:1 and in the 3:1 release ratio treatments (transgenic male:wild male) respectively. Transgenic males caused sex-ratio distortion of 73% and 80% males in the 1:1 and 3:1 treatments, respectively. The number of eggs laid in the transgenic treatments declined as the experiment progressed, with a steeper decline in the 3:1 than in the 1:1 releases. The results of the experiment are partially consistent with predictions of the model; effect size and variability did not conform to the model in two out of three trials, effect size was over-estimated by the model and variability was greater than anticipated, possibly because of sampling effects in restocking. The model estimating the effects of hypothetical releases on the mosquito population of a West African village demonstrated that releases could significantly reduce the number of females in the wild population. The interval of releases is not expected to have a strong effect.ConclusionsThe biological data produced to parameterize the model

Journal article

Bernardini F, Haghighat-Khah RE, Galizi R, Hammond AM, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2018, Molecular tools and genetic markers for the generation of transgenic sexing strains in Anopheline mosquitoes, Parasites & Vectors, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1756-3305

Malaria is a serious global health burden, affecting more than 200 million people each year in over 90 countries, predominantly in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Since the year 2000, a concerted effort to combat malaria has reduced its incidence by more than 40%, primarily due to the use of insecticide-treated bednets, indoor residual spraying and artemisinin-based combination drug therapies. Nevertheless, the cost of control is expected to nearly triple over the next decade and the current downward trend in disease transmission is threatened by the rise of resistance to drugs and insecticides. Novel strategies that are sustainable and cost-effective are needed to help usher in an era of malaria elimination. The most effective strategies thus far have focussed on control of the mosquito vector. The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a potentially powerful strategy that aims to suppress mosquito populations through the unproductive mating of wild female mosquitoes with sterile males that are released en masse. The technique and its derivatives are currently not appropriate for malaria control because it is difficult to sterilise males without compromising their ability to mate, and because anopheline males cannot be easily separated from females, which if released, could contribute to disease transmission. Advances in genome sequencing technologies and the development of transgenic techniques provide the tools necessary to produce mosquito sexing strains, which promise to improve current malaria-control programs and pave the way for new ones. In this review, the progress made in the development of transgenic sexing strains for the control of Anopheles gambiae, a major vector of human malaria, is discussed.

Journal article

Kyrou K, Hammond AM, Galizi R, Kranjc N, Burt A, Beaghton AK, Nolan T, Crisanti Aet al., 2018, A CRISPR-Cas9 gene drive targeting doublesex causes complete population suppression in caged Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, Nature Biotechnology, Vol: 36, Pages: 1062-1066, ISSN: 1087-0156

In the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, the gene doublesex (Agdsx) encodes two alternatively spliced transcripts, dsx-female (AgdsxF) and dsx-male (AgdsxM), that control differentiation of the two sexes. The female transcript, unlike the male, contains an exon (exon 5) whose sequence is highly conserved in all Anopheles mosquitoes so far analyzed. We found that CRISPR–Cas9-targeted disruption of the intron 4–exon 5 boundary aimed at blocking the formation of functional AgdsxF did not affect male development or fertility, whereas females homozygous for the disrupted allele showed an intersex phenotype and complete sterility. A CRISPR–Cas9 gene drive construct targeting this same sequence spread rapidly in caged mosquitoes, reaching 100% prevalence within 7–11 generations while progressively reducing egg production to the point of total population collapse. Owing to functional constraint of the target sequence, no selection of alleles resistant to the gene drive occurred in these laboratory experiments. Cas9-resistant variants arose in each generation at the target site but did not block the spread of the drive.

Journal article

Arcidiacono P, Ragonese F, Stabile A, Pistilli A, Kuligina E, Rende M, Bottoni U, Calvieri S, Crisanti A, Spaccapelo Ret al., 2018, Antitumor activity and expression profiles of genes induced by sulforaphane in human melanoma cells, European Journal of Nutrition, Vol: 57, Pages: 2547-2569, ISSN: 0044-264X

PurposeHuman melanoma is a highly aggressive incurable cancer due to intrinsic cellular resistance to apoptosis, reprogramming, proliferation and survival during tumour progression. Sulforaphane (SFN), an isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, plays a role in carcinogenesis in many cancer types. However, the cytotoxic molecular mechanisms and gene expression profiles promoted by SFN in human melanoma remain unknown.MethodsThree different cell lines were used: two human melanoma A375 and 501MEL and human epidermal melanocytes (HEMa). Cell viability and proliferation, cell cycle analysis, cell migration and invasion and protein expression and phosphorylation status of Akt and p53 upon SFN treatment were determined. RNA-seq of A375 was performed at different time points after SFN treatment.ResultsWe demonstrated that SFN strongly decreased cell viability and proliferation, induced G2/M cell cycle arrest, promoted apoptosis through the activation of caspases 3, 8, 9 and hampered migration and invasion abilities in the melanoma cell lines. Remarkably, HEMa cells were not affected by SFN treatment. Transcriptomic analysis revealed regulation of genes involved in response to stress, apoptosis/cell death and metabolic processes. SFN upregulated the expression of pro-apoptotic genes, such as p53, BAX, PUMA, FAS and MDM2; promoted cell cycle inhibition and growth arrest by upregulating EGR1, GADD45B, ATF3 and CDKN1A; and simultaneously acted as a potent inhibitor of genotoxicity by launching the stress-inducible protein network (HMOX1, HSPA1A, HSPA6, SOD1).ConclusionOverall, the data show that SFN cytotoxicity in melanoma derives from complex and concurrent mechanisms during carcinogenesis, which makes it a promising cancer prevention agent.

Journal article

Burt A, Crisanti A, 2018, Editorial: gene drive for vector control, Pathogens and Global Health, Vol: 111, Pages: 397-398, ISSN: 2047-7724

Journal article

Arcidiacono P, Stabile AM, Ragonese F, Pistilli A, Calvieri S, Bottoni U, Crisanti A, Spaccapelo R, Rende Met al., 2018, Anticarcinogenic activities of sulforaphane are influenced by Nerve Growth Factor in human melanoma A375 cells, FOOD AND CHEMICAL TOXICOLOGY, Vol: 113, Pages: 154-161, ISSN: 0278-6915

Journal article

Burt A, Crisanti A, 2018, Gene drive: evolved and synthetic, ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 13, Pages: 343-346, ISSN: 1554-8929

Drive is a process of accelerated inheritance from one generation to the next that allows some genes to spread rapidly through populations even if they do not contribute to-or indeed even if they detract from-organismal survival and reproduction. Genetic elements that can spread by drive include gametic and zygotic killers, meiotic drivers, homing endonuclease genes, B chromosomes, and transposable elements. The fact that gene drive can lead to the spread of fitness-reducing traits (including lethality and sterility) makes it an attractive process to consider exploiting to control disease vectors and other pests. There are a number of efforts to develop synthetic gene drive systems, particularly focused on the mosquito-borne diseases that continue to plague us.

Journal article

Burt A, Coulibaly M, Crisanti A, Diabate A, Kayondo JKet al., 2018, Gene drive to reduce malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Responsible Innovation, Vol: 5, Pages: S66-S80, ISSN: 2329-9460

Despite impressive progress, malaria continues to impose a substantial burden of mortality and morbidity, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and new tools will be needed to achieve elimination. Gene drive is a natural process by which some genes are inherited at a greater-than-Mendelian rate and can spread through a population even if they cause harm to the organisms carrying them. Many different synthetic gene drive systems have been proposed to suppress the number of mosquitoes and/or reduce vector competence. As with any control measure, due attention should be paid to the possible evolution of resistance. No gene drive construct has yet been reported that is ‘field-ready’ for release, and when such constructs are developed, they should be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Gene drive approaches to vector control promise to have a number of key features that motivate their continued development, and scrutiny, by all concerned.

Journal article

Simoes ML, Dong Y, Hammond AM, Nolan T, Crisanti A, Dimopoulos Get al., 2017, ENGINEERED ANOPHELES GAMBIAE IMMUNITY TO PLASMODIUM INFECTION, 65th Annual Meeting of the American-Society-of-Tropical-Medicine-and-Hygiene (ASTMH), Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 444-444, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Hammond AM, Kyrou K, Bruttini M, North A, Galizi R, Karlsson X, Kranjc N, Carpi FM, D'Aurizio R, Crisanti A, Nolan Tet al., 2017, The creation and selection of mutations resistant to a gene drive over multiple generations in the malaria mosquito, PLoS Genetics, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1553-7390

Gene drives have enormous potential for the control of insect populations of medical and agricultural relevance. By preferentially biasing their own inheritance, gene drives can rapidly introduce genetic traits even if these confer a negative fitness effect on the population. We have recently developed gene drives based on CRISPR nuclease constructs that are designed to disrupt key genes essential for female fertility in the malaria mosquito. The construct copies itself and the associated genetic disruption from one homologous chromosome to another during gamete formation, a process called homing that ensures the majority of offspring inherit the drive. Such drives have the potential to cause long-lasting, sustainable population suppression, though they are also expected to impose a large selection pressure for resistance in the mosquito. One of these population suppression gene drives showed rapid invasion of a caged population over 4 generations, establishing proof of principle for this technology. In order to assess the potential for the emergence of resistance to the gene drive in this population we allowed it to run for 25 generations and monitored the frequency of the gene drive over time. Following the initial increase of the gene drive we observed a gradual decrease in its frequency that was accompanied by the spread of small, nuclease-induced mutations at the target gene that are resistant to further cleavage and restore its functionality. Such mutations showed rates of increase consistent with positive selection in the face of the gene drive. Our findings represent the first documented example of selection for resistance to a synthetic gene drive and lead to important design recommendations and considerations in order to mitigate for resistance in future gene drive applications.

Journal article

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