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J Biol Chem. 1999 Apr 30;274(18):12650-5.

Vesicular ATPase-overexpressing cells determine the distribution of malaria parasite oocysts on the midguts of mosquitoes.

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  • 1Medical Entomology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0425, USA.


In Plasmodium-infected mosquitoes, oocysts are preferentially located at the posterior half of the posterior midgut. Because mosquitoes rest vertically after feeding, the effect of gravity on the ingested blood has been proposed as the cause of such a biased distribution. In this paper, we examined the oocyst distribution on the midguts of mosquitoes that were continuously rotated to nullify the effect of gravity and found that the typical pattern of oocyst distribution did not change. Invasion of the midgut epithelium by ookinetes was similarly found to be biased toward the posterior part of the posterior midgut. We examined whether the distribution of oocysts depends on the distribution of vesicular ATPase (V-ATPase)-overexpressing cells that Plasmodium ookinetes preferentially use to cross the midgut epithelium. An antiserum raised against recombinant Aedes aegypti V-ATPase B subunit indicated that the majority of V-ATPase-overexpressing cells in Ae. aegypti and Anopheles gambiae are localized at the posterior part of the posterior midgut. We propose that the typical distribution of oocysts on the mosquito midgut is attributable to the presence and the spatial distribution of the V-ATPase-overexpressing cells in the midgut epithelium.

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