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Journal of innate immunity

Anopheles gambiae blood feeding initiates an anticipatory defense response to Plasmodium berghei.


PMID 25247883

Abstract

Mosquitoes have potent innate defense mechanisms that protect them from infection by diverse pathogens. Much remains unknown about how different pathogens are sensed and specific responses triggered. Leucine-Rich repeat IMmune proteins (LRIMs) are a mosquito-specific family of putative innate receptors. Although some LRIMs have been implicated in mosquito immune responses, the function of most family members is largely unknown. We screened Anopheles gambiae LRIMs by RNAi for effects on mosquito infection by rodent malaria and found that LRIM9 is a Plasmodium berghei antagonist with phenotypes distinct from family members LRIM1 and APL1C, which are key components of the mosquito complement-like pathway. LRIM9 transcript and protein levels are significantly increased after blood feeding but are unaffected by Plasmodium or midgut microbiota. Interestingly, LRIM9 in the hemolymph is strongly upregulated by direct injection of the ecdysteroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone. Our data suggest that LRIM9 may define a novel anti-Plasmodium immune defense mechanism triggered by blood feeding and that hormonal changes may alert the mosquito to bolster its defenses in anticipation of exposure to blood-borne pathogens.