Anopheline mosquitoes are the sole vectors for the Plasmodium pathogens responsible for malaria, which is among the oldest and most devastating of human diseases. The continuing global impact of malaria reflects the evolutionary success of a complex vector-pathogen relationship that accordingly has been the long-term focus of both debate and study. An open question in the biology of malaria transmission is the impact of naturally occurring low-level Plasmodium infections of the vector on the mosquito’s health and longevity as well as critical behaviors such as host-preference/seeking. To begin to answer this, we have completed a comparative RNAseq-based transcriptome profile study examining the effect of biologically salient, salivary gland transmission-stage Plasmodium infection on the molecular physiology of Anopheles gambiae s.s. head, sensory appendages, and salivary glands. When compared with their uninfected counterparts, Plasmodium infected mosquitoes exhibit increased transcript abundance of genes associated with olfactory acuity as well as a range of synergistic processes that align with increased fitness based on both anti-aging and reproductive advantages. Taken together, these data argue against the long-held paradigm that malaria infection is pathogenic for anophelines and, instead suggests there are biological and evolutionary advantages for the mosquito that drive the preservation of its high vectorial capacity.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Dec 2021|
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