The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor-chloride channel complex is known to be the target site of dieldrin, a cyclodiene insecticide. GABA-receptors, with a naturally occurring amino acid substitution, A302S/G in the putative ion-channel lining region, confer resistance to cyclodiene insecticides that includes aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor, endrin and endosulphan.
A total of 154 mosquito samples from 10 provinces of malaria-endemic areas across Indonesia (Aceh, North Sumatra, Bangka Belitung, Lampung, Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, West Sulawesi, Molucca and North Molucca) were obtained and identified by species, using morphological characteristic. The DNA was individually extracted using chelex-ion exchanger and the DNA obtained was used for analyses using sequencing method.
Molecular analysis indicated 11% of the total 154 Anopheles samples examined, carried Rdl mutant alleles. All of the alleles were found in homozygous form. Rdl 302S allele was observed in Anopheles vagus (from Central Java, Lampung, and West Nusa Tenggara), Anopheles aconitus (from Central Java), Anopheles barbirostris (from Central Java and Lampung), Anopheles sundaicus (from North Sumatra and Lampung), Anopheles nigerrimus (from North Sumatra), whereas the 302 G allele was only found in Anopheles farauti from Molucca.
The existence of the Rdl mutant allele indicates that, either insecticide pressure on the Anopheles population in these areas might still be ongoing (though not directly associated with the malaria control programme) or that the mutant form of the Rdl allele is relatively stable in the absence of insecticide. Nonetheless, the finding suggests that integrated pest management is warranted in malaria-endemic areas where insecticides are widely used for other purposes.