The male mosquito contribution towards malaria transmission: Mating influences the Anopheles female midgut transcriptome and increases female susceptibility to human malaria parasites

Autoři: Farah Aida Dahalan aff001;  Thomas S. Churcher aff002;  Nikolai Windbichler aff001;  Mara K. N. Lawniczak aff001
Působiště autorů: Imperial College London, South Kensington, United Kingdom aff001;  MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom aff002;  Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, United Kingdom aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: The male mosquito contribution towards malaria transmission: Mating influences the Anopheles female midgut transcriptome and increases female susceptibility to human malaria parasites. PLoS Pathog 15(11): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1008063
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008063


Mating causes dramatic changes in female physiology, behaviour, and immunity in many insects, inducing oogenesis, oviposition, and refractoriness to further mating. Females from the Anopheles gambiae species complex typically mate only once in their lifetime during which they receive sperm and seminal fluid proteins as well as a mating plug that contains the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone. This hormone, which is also induced by blood-feeding, plays a major role in activating vitellogenesis for egg production. Here we show that female Anopheles coluzzii susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum infection is significantly higher in mated females compared to virgins. We also find that mating status has a major impact on the midgut transcriptome, detectable only under sugar-fed conditions: once females have blood-fed, the transcriptional changes that are induced by mating are likely masked by the widespread effects of blood-feeding on gene expression. To determine whether increased susceptibility to parasites could be driven by the additional 20E that mated females receive from males, we mimicked mating by injecting virgin females with 20E, finding that these females are significantly more susceptible to human malaria parasites than virgin females injected with the control 20E carrier. Further RNAseq was carried out to examine whether the genes that change upon 20E injection in the midgut are similar to those that change upon mating. We find that 79 midgut-expressed genes are regulated in common by both mating and 20E, and 96% (n = 76) of these are regulated in the same direction (up vs down in 20E/mated). Together, these findings show that male Anopheles mosquitoes induce changes in the female midgut that can affect female susceptibility to P. falciparum. This implies that in nature, males might contribute to malaria transmission in previously unappreciated ways, and that vector control strategies that target males may have additional benefits towards reducing transmission.

Klíčová slova:

Blood – Gene expression – Malaria – Malarial parasites – Mosquitoes – Oocysts – Parasitic diseases – Plasmodium



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