Direct and indirect immunosuppression by a malaria parasite in its mosquito vector

C.H.J.J. Boëte, R.E.L. Paul, J.C. Koëlla

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Malaria parasites develop as oocysts within the haemocoel of their mosquito vector during a period that is longer than the average lifespan of many of their vectors. How can they escape from the mosquito's immune responses during their long development? Whereas older oocysts might camouflage themselves by incorporating mosquito-derived proteins into their surface capsule, younger stages are susceptible to the mosquito's immune response and must rely on other methods of immune evasion. We show that the malaria parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum suppresses the encapsulation immune response of its mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, and in particular that the parasite uses both an indirect and a direct strategy for immunosuppression. Thus, when we fed mosquitoes with the plasma of infected chickens, the efficacy of the mosquitoes to encapsulate negatively charged Sephadex beads was considerably reduced, whether the parasite was present in the blood meal or not. In addition, zygotes that were created ex vivo and added to the blood of uninfected chickens reduced the efficacy of the encapsulation response. As dead zygotes had no effect on encapsulation, this result demonstrates active suppression of the mosquito's immune response by malaria parasites
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1611-1615
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1548
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • infected anopheles-gambiae
  • plasmodium-falciparum
  • sephadex beads
  • melanization response
  • susceptible strains
  • immunity
  • transmission
  • gallinaceum
  • stephensi
  • efficacy

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