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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Nov 25;100(24):14139-44. Epub 2003 Nov 17.

The role of reactive oxygen species on Plasmodium melanotic encapsulation in Anopheles gambiae.

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  • 1Colorado State University, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, 1619 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


Malaria transmission depends on the competence of some Anopheles mosquitoes to sustain Plasmodium development (susceptibility). A genetically selected refractory strain of Anopheles gambiae blocks Plasmodium development, melanizing, and encapsulating the parasite in a reaction that begins with tyrosine oxidation, and involves three quantitative trait loci. Morphological and microarray mRNA expression analysis suggest that the refractory and susceptible strains have broad physiological differences, which are related to the production and detoxification of reactive oxygen species. Physiological studies corroborate that the refractory strain is in a chronic state of oxidative stress, which is exacerbated by blood feeding, resulting in increased steady-state levels of reactive oxygen species, which favor melanization of parasites as well as Sephadex beads.

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