In spite of research efforts to develop vaccines against the causative agent of human malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, effective control remains elusive. The predominant vaccine strategy focuses on targeting parasite blood stages in the vertebrate host. An alternative approach has been the development of transmission-blocking vaccines (TBVs). TBVs target antigens on parasite sexual stages that persist within the insect vector, anopheline mosquitoes, or target mosquito midgut proteins that are presumed to mediate parasite development. By blocking parasite development within the insect vector, TBVs effectively disrupt transmission and the resultant cascade of secondary infections. Using a mosquito midgut-specific mouse monoclonal antibody (MG96), we have partially characterized membrane-bound midgut glycoproteins in Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles stephensi. These proteins are present on the microvilli of midgut epithelial cells in both blood-fed and unfed mosquitoes, suggesting that the expression of the protein is not induced as a result of blood feeding. MG96 exhibits a dose-dependent blocking effect against Plasmodium yoelii development in An. stephensi. We achieved 100% blocking of parasite development in the mosquito midgut. Preliminary deglycosylation assays indicate that the epitope recognized by MG96 is a complex oligosaccharide. Future investigation of the carbohydrate epitope as well as gene identification should provide valuable insight into the possible mechanisms of ookinete attachment and invasion of mosquito midgut epithelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases