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New classes of chemistries are needed to control insecticide resistant populations of mosquitoes and prevent transmission of vector-borne diseases (VBDs). Organismal screens of chemical collections have played an important role in the search for new vector insecticides and the identification of active ingredients (AIs) that cause rapid mortality of mosquitoes. Advances in image-based screening offer an opportunity to identify chemistries that operate via novel biochemical modes and investigate the range of phenotypes exhibited by mosquitoes following exposure to lethal and sub-lethal chemical dose. An automated, high throughput phenotypic screen (HTS) employing high-content imaging of first instar (L1) Aedes aegypti larvae was developed to identify chemistries associated with mortality and atypical morphological phenotypes. A pilot screen of the Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC1280) identified 92 chemistries that disrupted larval activity and development, including conventional insecticides and chemistries known to modulate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and other molecular targets in mammalian systems. Secondary assay series were used to evaluate a selection of chemistries for impacts on mosquito activity, survival and development. Ritodrine hydrochloride reduced mobility of larvae but had no observable effect on survival and development of mosquitoes. High doses of metergoline suppressed larval activity and sub-lethal dose resulted in pupal mortality. Assay data support the utility of phenotypic screening and diverse entomological end-points for discovery of novel insecticidal chemical scaffolds. The insecticide discovery process must consider how multi-modal efficacy spectra contribute to vector and VBD control. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


M V Murgia, S Sharan, J Kaur, W Austin, L Hagen, L Wu, L Chen, J A Scott, D P Flaherty, M E Scharf, V J Watts, C A Hill. High-content phenotypic screening identifies novel chemistries that disrupt mosquito activity and development. Pesticide biochemistry and physiology. 2022 Mar;182:105037

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PMID: 35249647

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