The objective of this project is to continue the study of the genetics and biogeography of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Little is known about the genetics and the parameters that define the geographical boundaries of this important insect group, members of which serve as vectors of bartonellosis, a number of arboviral diseases and leishmaniasis. Studies will focus on field and laboratory studies of Lutzomyia longipalpis and L. shannoni, two sand fly species that have been implicated as vectors of leishmaniasis and have a very wide range of distribution in the Americas. Biochemical genetic profiles established for geographic strains of L. longipalpis, a species closely associated with human habitation, have identified distinctive populations that occur in regions of high endemic transmission or where unique clinical forms of visceral leishmaniasis have appeared. Characterization of these populations will take 3 forms: (1) a transect between genetically distinct populations will show the pattern of change in biochemical signature (abrupt or gradual), (2) infectivity and clinical progress by the parasite, Leishmania chagasi, in vertebrate host tissues will be compared among genetically/geographically defined strains of the vector, and (3) characterization of geographic parameters that are associated with the distribution of genetically distinctive vector populations. Lutzomyia shannoni is a forest species, a cryptic species complex, and a species associated with arrays of other sand flies across its geographic range. Its genotypic variability, the relationships among members of its species group, and clines of species associations will be characterized in selected areas. Collection, identification, establishing biochemical profiles and vector roles will involve the cooperative efforts of scientists at Yale University and the Instituto Nacional de Salud at Bogota, Colombia; in addition, sand fly specialists in the U.S. and Latin America, particularly in Brazil, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica will assist in the collection of flies and field data.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG5-TMP (01))
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Yale University
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
New Haven
United States
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Beati, Lorenza; Caceres, Abraham G; Lee, Jamie A et al. (2004) Systematic relationships among Lutzomyia sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) of Peru and Colombia based on the analysis of 12S and 28S ribosomal DNA sequences. Int J Parasitol 34:225-34
Salomon, O D; Wilson, M L; Munstermann, L E et al. (2004) Spatial and temporal patterns of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in a cutaneous leishmaniasis focus in northern Argentina. J Med Entomol 41:33-9
Gaunt, Christine M Taafe; Mutebi, John-Paul; Munstermann, Leonard E (2004) Biochemical taxonomy and enzyme electrophoretic profiles during development, for three morphologically similar Aedes species (Diptera: Culicidae) of the subgenus Stegomyia. J Med Entomol 41:23-32
Hodgkinson, Virginia H; Birungi, Josephine; Quintana, Miguel et al. (2003) Mitochondrial cytochrome b variation in populations of the visceral leishmaniasis vector Lutzomyia longipalpis across eastern Brazil. Am J Trop Med Hyg 69:386-92
Santamaria, Erika; Munstermann, Leonard E; Ferro, Cristina (2002) [Standardization of the method proposed by the World Health Organization for determining the susceptibility levels of leishmaniasis vectors to insecticides] Biomedica 22:211-8
Nayar, Jai K; Knight, J W; Munstermann, L E (2002) Temporal and geographic genetic variation in Culex nigripalpus theobald (Culicidae: Diptera), a vector of St. Louis encephalitis virus, from Florida. J Med Entomol 39:854-60
Santamaria, Erika; Munstermann, Leonard E; Ferro, Cristina (2002) Estimating carrying capacity in a newly colonized sand fly Lutzomyia serrana (Diptera: Psychodidae). J Econ Entomol 95:149-54
Hodgkinson, Virginia H; Birungi, Josephine; Haghpanah, Michelle et al. (2002) Rapid identification of mitochondrial cytochrome B haplotypes by single strand conformation polymorphism in Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) populations. J Med Entomol 39:689-94
Mukhopadhyay, J; Ghosh, K; Ferro, C et al. (2001) Distribution of phlebotomine sand fly genotypes (Lutzomyia shannoni, Diptera: Psychodidae) across a highly heterogeneous landscape. J Med Entomol 38:260-7
Ono, M; Braig, H R; Munstermann, L E et al. (2001) Wolbachia infections of phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). J Med Entomol 38:237-41

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