Background: Apolipophorin-III (ApoLp-III) is known to play an important role in lipid transport and innate immunity in lepidopteran insects. However, there is no evidence of involvement of ApoLp-IIIs in the immune responses of dipteran insects such as Drosophila and mosquitoes. Methodology/Principal Findings: We report the molecular and functional characterization of An. gambiae apolipophorin-III (AgApoLp-III). Mosquito ApoLp-IIIs have diverged extensively from those of lepidopteran insects; however, the predicted tertiary structure of AgApoLp-III is similar to that of Manduca sexta (tobacco hornworm). We found that AgApoLp-III mRNA expression is strongly induced in the midgut of An. gambiae (G3 strain) mosquitoes in response to Plasmodium berghei infection. Furthermore, immunofluorescence stainings revealed that high levels of AgApoLp-III protein accumulate in the cytoplasm of Plasmodium-invaded cells and AgApoLp-III silencing increases the intensity of P. berghei infection by five fold. Conclusion: There are broad differences in the midgut epithelial responses to Plasmodium invasion between An. gambiae strains. In the G3 strain of An. gambiae AgApoLp-III participates in midgut epithelial defense responses that limit Plasmodium infection.
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