Identification of aerobic gut bacteria from the kala azar vector, Phlebotomus argentipes: a platform for potential paratransgenic manipulation of sand flies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Visceral leishmaniasis is an understudied parasitic disease responsible for significant global morbidity and mortality. We are presently investigating a method of disease prevention termed paratransgenesis. In this approach, symbiotic or commensal bacteria are transformed to produce anti-Leishmania molecules. The transformed bacteria are delivered back to sand flies to inactivate the parasite within the vector itself. In this study, we identified 28 distinct gut microorganisms from Phlebotomus argentipes trapped from four visceral leishmaniasis-endemic sites in India. A significant percent of Staphylococcus spp., environmental bacteria, and Enterobacteriaceae were identified. Two non-pathogenic organisms, Bacillus megaterium and Brevibacterium linens, were also isolated. Both organisms are also used extensively in industry. Our results indicate that B. megaterium and B. linens are possible candidates for use in a model of paratransgenesis to prevent transmission of Leishmania.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008