Activation of mosquito complement antiplasmodial response requires cellular immunity.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Plasmodium ookinetes traverse midgut epithelial cells before they encounter the complement system in the mosquito hemolymph. We identified a heme peroxidase (HPX2) and NADPH oxidase 5 (NOX5) as critical mediators of midgut epithelial nitration and antiplasmodial immunity that enhance nitric oxide toxicity in Anopheles gambiae. We show that the two immune mechanisms that target ookinetes-epithelial nitration and thioester-containing protein 1 (TEP1)-mediated lysis-work sequentially, and we propose that epithelial nitration works as an opsonization-like system that promotes activation of the mosquito complement cascade.
Project description:The innate immune system of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes limits Plasmodium infection through multiple molecular mechanisms. For example, midgut invasion by the parasite triggers an epithelial nitration response that promotes activation of the complement-like system. We found that suppression of the JNK pathway, by silencing either Hep, JNK, Jun or Fos expression, greatly enhanced Plasmodium infection; while overactivating this cascade, by silencing the suppressor Puckered, had the opposite effect. The JNK pathway limits infection via two coordinated responses. It induces the expression of two enzymes (HPx2 and NOX5) that potentiate midgut epithelial nitration in response to Plasmodium infection and regulates expression of two key hemocyte-derived immune effectors (TEP1 and FBN9). Furthermore, the An. gambiae L3-5 strain that has been genetically selected to be refractory (R) to Plasmodium infection exhibits constitutive overexpression of genes from the JNK pathway, as well as midgut and hemocyte effector genes. Silencing experiments confirmed that this cascade mediates, to a large extent, the drastic parasite elimination phenotype characteristic of this mosquito strain. In sum, these studies revealed the JNK pathway as a key regulator of the ability of An. gambiae mosquitoes to limit Plasmodium infection and identified several effector genes mediating these responses.
Project description:The malaria parasite, Plasmodium, must survive and develop in the mosquito vector to be successfully transmitted to a new host. The Plasmodium falciparum Pfs47 gene is critical for malaria transmission. Parasites that express Pfs47 (NF54 WT) evade mosquito immunity and survive, whereas Pfs47 knockouts (KO) are efficiently eliminated by the complement-like system. Two alternative approaches were used to investigate the mechanism of action of Pfs47 on immune evasion. First, we examined whether Pfs47 affected signal transduction pathways mediating mosquito immune responses, and show that the Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is a key mediator of Anopheles gambiae antiplasmodial responses to P. falciparum infection and that Pfs47 disrupts JNK signaling. Second, we used microarrays to compare the global transcriptional responses of A. gambiae midguts to infection with WT and KO parasites. The presence of Pfs47 results in broad and profound changes in gene expression in response to infection that are already evident 12 h postfeeding, but become most prominent at 26 h postfeeding, the time when ookinetes invade the mosquito midgut. Silencing of 15 differentially expressed candidate genes identified caspase-S2 as a key effector of Plasmodium elimination in parasites lacking Pfs47. We provide experimental evidence that JNK pathway regulates activation of caspases in Plasmodium-invaded midgut cells, and that caspase activation is required to trigger midgut epithelial nitration. Pfs47 alters the cell death pathway of invaded midgut cells by disrupting JNK signaling and prevents the activation of several caspases, resulting in an ineffective nitration response that makes the parasite undetectable by the mosquito complement-like system.
Project description:All vector mosquito species must feed on the blood of a vertebrate host to produce eggs. Multiple cycles of blood feeding also promote frequent contacts with hosts, which enhance the risk of exposure to infectious agents and disease transmission. Blood feeding triggers the release of insulin-like peptides (ILPs) from the brain of the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which regulate blood meal digestion and egg formation. In turn, hemocytes serve as the most important constitutive defense in mosquitoes against pathogens that enter the hemocoel. Prior studies indicated that blood feeding stimulates hemocytes to increase in abundance, but how this increase in abundance is regulated is unknown. Here, we determined that phagocytic granulocytes and oenocytoids express the A. aegypti insulin receptor (AaMIR). We then showed that: 1) decapitation of mosquitoes after blood feeding inhibited hemocyte proliferation, 2) a single dose of insulin-like peptide 3 (ILP3) sufficient to stimulate egg production rescued proliferation, and 3) knockdown of the AaMIR inhibited ILP3 rescue activity. Infection studies indicated that increased hemocyte abundance enhanced clearance of the bacterium Escherichia coli at lower levels of infection. Surprisingly, however, non-blood fed females better survived intermediate and high levels of E. coli infection than blood fed females. Taken together, our results reveal a previously unrecognized role for the insulin signaling pathway in regulating hemocyte proliferation. Our results also indicate that blood feeding enhances resistance to E. coli at lower levels of infection but reduces tolerance at higher levels of infection.
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: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:Mosquito midgut invasion by ookinetes of the malaria parasite Plasmodium disrupts the barriers that normally prevent the gut microbiota from coming in direct contact with epithelial cells. This triggers a long-lived response characterized by increased abundance of granulocytes, a subpopulation of hemocytes that circulates in the insect's hemocoel, and enhanced immunity to bacteria that indirectly reduces survival of Plasmodium parasites upon reinfection. In mosquitoes, differentiation of hemocytes was necessary and sufficient to confer innate immune memory.
Project description:Insects rely on the innate immune system for defense against pathogens, some aspects of which are under hormonal control. Here we provide direct experimental evidence showing that the juvenile hormone-binding protein (mJHBP) of Aedes aegypti is required for the regulation of innate immune responses and the development of mosquito blood cells (hemocytes). Using an mJHBP-deficient mosquito line generated by means of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology we uncovered a mutant phenotype characterized by immunosuppression at the humoral and cellular levels, which profoundly affected susceptibility to bacterial infection. Bacteria-challenged mosquitoes exhibited significantly higher levels of septicemia and mortality relative to the wild type (WT) strain, delayed expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), severe developmental dysregulation of embryonic and larval hemocytes (reduction in the total number of hemocytes) and increased differentiation of the granulocyte lineage. Interestingly, injection of recombinant wild type mJHBP protein into adult females three-days before infection was sufficient to restore normal immune function. Similarly, injection of mJHBP into fourth-instar larvae fully restored normal larval/pupal hemocyte populations in emerging adults. More importantly, the recovery of normal immuno-activation and hemocyte development requires the capability of mJHBP to bind JH III. These results strongly suggest that JH III functions in mosquito immunity and hemocyte development in a manner that is perhaps independent of canonical JH signaling, given the lack of developmental and reproductive abnormalities. Because of the prominent role of hemocytes as regulators of mosquito immunity, this novel discovery may have broader implications for the understanding of vector endocrinology, hemocyte development, vector competence and disease transmission.