The role of hemocytes in Anopheles gambiae antiplasmodial immunity.
ABSTRACT: Hemocytes synthesize key components of the mosquito complement-like system, but their role in the activation of antiplasmodial responses has not been established. The effect of activating Toll signaling in hemocytes on Plasmodium survival was investigated by transferring hemocytes or cell-free hemolymph from donor mosquitoes in which the suppressor cactus was silenced. These transfers greatly enhanced antiplasmodial immunity, indicating that hemocytes are active players in the activation of the complement-like system, through an effector/effectors regulated by the Toll pathway. A comparative analysis of hemocyte populations between susceptible G3 and the refractory L3-5 Anopheles gambiae mosquito strains did not reveal significant differences under basal conditions or in response to Plasmodium berghei infection. The response of susceptible mosquitoes to different Plasmodium species revealed similar kinetics following infection with P. berghei,P. yoelii or P. falciparum, but the strength of the priming response was stronger in less compatible mosquito-parasite pairs. The Toll, Imd,STAT or JNK signaling cascades were not essential for the production of the hemocyte differentiation factor (HDF) in response to P. berghei infection, but disruption of Toll, STAT or JNK abolished hemocyte differentiation in response to HDF. We conclude that hemocytes are key mediators of A. gambiae antiplasmodial responses.
Project description:Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that have been infected with Plasmodium mount a more effective immune response to a subsequent infection. Priming is established when Plasmodium invasion of the mosquito midgut allows contact of the gut microbiota with epithelial cells. This event is followed by a systemic release of a hemocyte differentiation factor (HDF) consisting of Lipoxin A4 bound to Evokin, a lipocalin carrier, which increases the proportion of circulating hemocytes. We show that mosquito midgut cells produce and release prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which attracts hemocytes to the midgut surface and enhances their patrolling activity. Systemic injection of prostaglandins (PGs) recapitulates the priming response and enhances antiplasmodial immunity by triggering HDF production. Although insects lack cyclooxygenases, two heme peroxidases, HPX7 and HPX8, catalyze essential steps in PG biosynthesis in mosquitoes. Mosquito midgut PGE2 release attracts hemocytes and establishes a long-lasting enhanced systemic cellular immune response to Plasmodium infection.
Project description:The mosquito complement-like system is a major defense mechanism that limits Plasmodium infection. Ookinete midgut invasion results in irreversible damage to invaded cells and triggers epithelial nitration and complement activation. Several lines of evidence suggest that hemocytes participate in early antiplasmodial responses that target ookinetes, but their role remains unclear. The fate of hemocytes in response to Plasmodium infection was investigated by labeling this cell population in vivo. We found that midgut nitration triggers the local release of hemocyte-derived microvesicles (HdMv) into the basal labyrinth of the midgut. Several different strategies, such as gene silencing, immune priming, or systemic injection of polystyrene beads, were used to either enhance or reduce HdMv release. We provide direct experimental evidence that contact of hemocytes with the nitrated midgut basal surface triggers HdMv release and that this response is necessary for effective activation of mosquito complement. Our studies suggest that hemocyte-derived microvesicles may deliver some critical factor(s) that promote activation of thioester-containing protein 1, a key effector of the mosquito antiplasmodial immunity.
Project description:Insect hemocytes mediate important cellular immune responses including phagocytosis and encapsulation and also secrete immune factors such as opsonins, melanization factors, and antimicrobial peptides. However, the molecular composition of these important immune cells has not been elucidated in depth, because of their scarcity in the circulating hemolymph, their adhesion to multiple tissues and the lack of primary culture methods to produce sufficient material for a genome-wide analysis. In this study, we report a genome-wide molecular characterization of circulating hemocytes collected from the hemolymph of adult female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes--the major mosquito vector of human malaria in subSaharan Africa. Their molecular profile identified 1,485 transcripts with enriched expression in these cells, and many of these genes belong to innate immune gene families. This hemocyte-specific transcriptome is compared to those of Drosophila melanogaster and two other mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Armigeres subalbatus. We report the identification of two genes as ubiquitous hemocyte markers and several others as hemocyte subpopulation markers. We assess, via an RNAi screen, the roles in development of Plasmodium berghei of 63 genes expressed in hemocytes and provide a molecular comparison of the transcriptome of these cells during malaria infection.
Project description:The innate immune response is highly conserved across all eukaryotes and has been studied in great detail in several model organisms. Hemocytes, the primary immune cell population in mosquitoes, are important components of the mosquito innate immune response, yet critical aspects of their biology have remained uncharacterized. Using a novel method of enrichment, we isolated phagocytic granulocytes and quantified their proteomes by mass spectrometry. The data demonstrate that phagocytosis, blood-feeding, and Plasmodium falciparum infection promote dramatic shifts in the proteomic profiles of An. gambiae granulocyte populations. Of interest, large numbers of immune proteins were induced in response to blood feeding alone, suggesting that granulocytes have an integral role in priming the mosquito immune system for pathogen challenge. In addition, we identify several granulocyte proteins with putative roles as membrane receptors, cell signaling, or immune components that when silenced, have either positive or negative effects on malaria parasite survival. Integrating existing hemocyte transcriptional profiles, we also compare differences in hemocyte transcript and protein expression to provide new insight into hemocyte gene regulation and discuss the potential that post-transcriptional regulation may be an important component of hemocyte gene expression. These data represent a significant advancement in mosquito hemocyte biology, providing the first comprehensive proteomic profiling of mosquito phagocytic granulocytes during homeostasis blood-feeding, and pathogen challenge. Together, these findings extend current knowledge to further illustrate the importance of hemocytes in shaping mosquito innate immunity and their principal role in defining malaria parasite survival in the mosquito host.
Project description:Hemocytes are crucial players of the mosquito immune system and critically affect transmission of pathogens including malaria parasites. We and others discovered previously that a blood meal is a major immune stimulus for mosquito hemocytes. To determine whether these blood meal-induced hemocyte changes in Anopheles gambiae constitute steps in cell differentiation or demonstrate transient cell activation, we analyzed the temporal pattern of these changes over the first three days post blood meal (dpbm). Flow cytometry and immunofluorescence analyses revealed a global shift of the entire hemocyte population, peaking at 1 dpbm. All hemocyte activation markers returned to pre-blood meal baseline levels within the following 24-48 h. Our observations are consistant with An. gambiae hemocytes undergoing transient activation rather than terminal differentiation upon blood feeding. Interestingly, the temporal pattern followed the gonotrophic cycle of the mosquito, strongly suggesting hormonal control of mosquito hemocyte activation and deactivation.
Project description:Anopheline mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium parasites to humans, and are responsible for an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, leading to over 400,000 deaths annually. The mosquito’s immune system limits Plasmodium infection in several ways, and hemocytes, the insect white blood cells, are key players in these defense responses. However, the full functional diversity of mosquito hemocytes and their developmental trajectories have not been established. We use single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to analyze the transcriptional profiles of individual mosquito hemocytes in response to blood feeding or infection with Plasmodium. Circulating hemocytes were collected from adult A. gambiae M form (A. coluzzii) females that were either kept on a sugar meal or fed on a healthy or a Plasmodium berghei-infected mouse. Transcriptomes from 5,383 cells (collected 1, 3, and 7 days after feeding) revealed nine major cell clusters.
Project description:Insects counter infection with innate immune responses that rely on cells called hemocytes. Hemocytes exist in association with the insect's open circulatory system and this mode of existence has likely influenced the organization and control of anti-pathogen immune responses. Previous studies reported that pathogens in the mosquito body cavity (hemocoel) accumulate on the surface of the heart. Using novel cell staining, microdissection and intravital imaging techniques, we investigated the mechanism of pathogen accumulation in the pericardium of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and discovered a novel insect immune tissue, herein named periostial hemocytes, that sequesters pathogens as they flow with the hemolymph. Specifically, we show that there are two types of endocytic cells that flank the heart: periostial hemocytes and pericardial cells. Resident periostial hemocytes engage in the rapid phagocytosis of pathogens, and during the course of a bacterial or Plasmodium infection, circulating hemocytes migrate to the periostial regions where they bind the cardiac musculature and each other, and continue the phagocytosis of invaders. Periostial hemocyte aggregation occurs in a time- and infection dose-dependent manner, and once this immune process is triggered, the number of periostial hemocytes remains elevated for the lifetime of the mosquito. Finally, the soluble immune elicitors peptidoglycan and ?-1,3-glucan also induce periostial hemocyte aggregation, indicating that this is a generalized and basal immune response that is induced by diverse immune stimuli. These data describe a novel insect cellular immune response that fundamentally relies on the physiological interaction between the insect circulatory and immune systems.
Project description:Background: The mosquito Anopheles gambiae is a major vector of human malaria. Increasing evidence indicates that blood cells (hemocytes) comprise an essential arm of the mosquito innate immune response against both bacteria and malaria parasites. To further characterize the role of hemocytes in mosquito immunity, we undertook the first genome-wide transcriptomic analyses of adult female An. gambiae hemocytes following infection by two species of bacteria and a malaria parasite. Results: We identified 4047 genes expressed in hemocytes, using An. gambiae genome-wide microarrays. While 279 transcripts were significantly enriched in hemocytes relative to whole adult female mosquitoes, 959 transcripts exhibited immune challenge-related regulation. The global transcriptomic responses of hemocytes to challenge with different species of bacteria and/or different stages of malaria parasite infection revealed discrete, minimally overlapping, pathogen-specific signatures of infection-responsive gene expression; 105 of these represented putative immunity-related genes including anti-Plasmodium factors. Of particular interest was the specific co-regulation of various members of the Imd and JNK immune signaling pathways during malaria parasite invasion of the mosquito midgut epithelium. Conclusion: Our genome-wide transcriptomic analysis of adult mosquito hemocytes reveals pathogen-specific signatures of gene regulation and identifies several novel candidate genes for future functional studies. In order to identify hemocyte-specific and immune-responsive transcripts, we first compared transcripts expressed in hemocytes from one day old sugar-fed mosquitoes to transcripts detected in whole mosquitoes of the same age and feeding status. This resulted in identification of the hemocyte-enriched transcriptome. We then compared hemocytes from 1 day old mosquitoes, 1 hour after immune challenge with heat-killed Escherichia coli or Micrococcus luteus, to control female mosquitoes injected with sterile PBS to determine the bacteria challenge responsive transcriptomes. We used heat-killed bacteria in these assays, because our primary interest was in identifying the bacterial responsive transcriptome and to avoid the potentially confounding effects of altered gene expression due to the lethal effects of a systemic infection associated with injection of living bacteria. Lastly, we compared hemocytes from mosquitoes at 24 hours and 19 days after ingestion of a blood meal infected with Plasmodium berghei to mosquitoes of the same age fed a non-infected blood meal to determine the ookinete and sporozoite infection responsive transcriptomes, respectively. This design resulted in a total of five experimental treatments. The following samples are not included in this submission: Hemo E coli vs. hemo unchallenged A Hemo E coli vs. hemo unchallenged B Hemo m luteus vs. hemo unchallenged A Hemo m luteus vs. hemo unchallenged B
Project description:Malaria is a global public health problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where the mosquito Anopheles gambiae Giles serves as the major vector for the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum Welch. One determinant of malaria vector competence is the mosquito's immune system. Hemocytes are a critical component as they produce soluble immune factors that either support or prevent malaria parasite development. However, despite their importance in vector competence, understanding of their basic biology is just developing. Applying novel technologies to the study of mosquito hemocytes, we investigated the effect of blood meal on hemocyte population dynamics, DNA replication and cell cycle progression. In contrast to prevailing published work, the data presented here demonstrate that hemocytes in adult mosquitoes continue to undergo low basal levels of replication. In addition, blood ingestion caused significant changes in hemocytes within 24 h. Hemocytes displayed an increase in cell number, size, granularity and Ras-MAPK signaling as well as altered cell surface moieties. As these changes are well-known markers of immune cell activation in mammals and Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, we further investigated whether a blood meal changes the expression of hemocyte-derived immune factors. Indeed, hemocytes 24 h post-blood meal displayed higher levels of critical components of the complement and melanization immune reactions in mosquitoes. Taken together, this study demonstrates that the normal physiological process of a blood meal activates the innate immune response in mosquitoes. This process is likely in part regulated by Ras-MAPK signaling, highlighting a novel mechanistic link between blood feeding and immunity.
Project description:Hemocytes are integral components of mosquito immune mechanisms such as phagocytosis, melanization, and production of antimicrobial peptides. However, our understanding of hemocyte-specific molecular processes and their contribution to shaping the host immune response remains limited. To better understand the immunophysiological features distinctive of hemocytes, we conducted genome-wide analysis of hemocyte-enriched transcripts, and examined how tissue-enriched expression patterns change with the immune status of the host. Our microarray data indicate that the hemocyte-enriched trascriptome is dynamic and context-dependent. Analysis of transcripts enriched after bacterial challenge in circulating hemocytes with respect to carcass added a dimension to evaluating infection-responsive genes and immune-related gene families. We resolved patterns of transcriptional change unique to hemocytes from those that are likely shared by other immune responsive tissues, and identified clusters of genes preferentially induced in hemocytes, likely reflecting their involvement in cell type specific functions. In addition, the study revealed conserved hemocyte-enriched molecular repertoires, which might be implicated in core hemocyte function by cross-species meta-analysis of microarray expression data from Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster.