Endemic countries are increasingly adopting molecular tools for efficient typing, identification and surveillance against malaria parasites and vector mosquitoes, as an integral part of their control programs. For sustainable establishment of these accurate approaches in operations research to strengthen malaria control and elimination efforts, simple and affordable methods, with parsimonious reagent and equipment requirements are essential. Here we present a simple Chelex-based technique for extracting malaria parasite and vector DNA from field collected mosquito specimens. We morphologically identified 72 Anopheles gambiae sl. from 156 mosquitoes captured by pyrethrum spray catches in sleeping rooms of households within a 2,000 km(2) vicinity of the Malaria Institute at Macha. After dissection to separate the head and thorax from the abdomen for all 72 Anopheles gambiae sl. mosquitoes, the two sections were individually placed in 1.5 ml microcentrifuge tubes and submerged in 20 μl of deionized water. Using a sterile pipette tip, each mosquito section was separately homogenized to a uniform suspension in the deionized water. Of the ensuing homogenate from each mosquito section, 10 μl was retained while the other 10 μl was transferred to a separate autoclaved 1.5 ml tube. The separate aliquots were subjected to DNA extraction by either the simplified Chelex or the standard salting out extraction protocol(9,10). The salting out protocol is so-called and widely used because it employs high salt concentrations in lieu of hazardous organic solvents (such as phenol and chloroform) for the protein precipitation step during DNA extraction(9). Extracts were used as templates for PCR amplification using primers targeting arthropod mitochondrial nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase (NADH) subunit 4 gene (ND4) to check DNA quality, a PCR for identification of Anopheles gambiae sibling species(10) and a nested PCR for typing of Plasmodium falciparum infection. Comparison using DNA quality (ND4) PCR showed 93% sensitivity and 82% specificity for the Chelex approach relative to the established salting out protocol. Corresponding values of sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 78%, respectively, using sibling species identification PCR and 92% and 80%, respectively for P. falciparum detection PCR. There were no significant differences in proportion of samples giving amplicon signal with the Chelex or the regular salting out protocol across all three PCR applications. The Chelex approach required three simple reagents and 37 min to complete, while the salting out protocol entailed 10 different reagents and 2 hr and 47 min' processing time, including an overnight step. Our results show that the Chelex method is comparable to the existing salting out extraction and can be substituted as a simple and sustainable approach in resource-limited settings where a constant reagent supply chain is often difficult to maintain.
Musapa, M.; Kumwenda, T.; Mkulama, M.; Chishimba, S.; Norris, D. E.; Thuma, Philip; and Mharakurwa, S., "A Simple Chelex Protocol for DNA Extraction From Anopheles Spp" (2013). Biology Educator Scholarship. 105.