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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 17;279(51):53475-82. Epub 2004 Sep 29.

Inducible peroxidases mediate nitration of anopheles midgut cells undergoing apoptosis in response to Plasmodium invasion.

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


Plasmodium berghei invasion of Anopheles stephensi midgut cells causes severe damage, induces expression of nitric-oxide synthase, and leads to apoptosis. The present study indicates that invasion results in tyrosine nitration, catalyzed as a two-step reaction in which nitric-oxide synthase induction is followed by increased peroxidase activity. Ookinete invasion induced localized expression of peroxidase enzymes, which catalyzed protein nitration in vitro in the presence of nitrite and H(2)O(2). Histochemical stainings revealed that when a parasite migrates laterally and invades more than one cell, the pattern of induced peroxidase activity is similar to that observed for tyrosine nitration. In Anopheles gambiae, ookinete invasion elicited similar responses; it induced expression of 5 of the 16 peroxidase genes predicted by the genome sequence and decreased mRNA levels of one of them. One of these inducible peroxidases has a C-terminal oxidase domain homologous to the catalytic moiety of phagocyte NADPH oxidase and could provide high local levels of superoxide anion (O(2)), that when dismutated would generate the local increase in H(2)O(2) required for nitration. Chemically induced apoptosis of midgut cells also activated expression of four ookinete-induced peroxidase genes, suggesting their involvement in general apoptotic responses. The two-step nitration reaction provides a mechanism to precisely localize and circumscribe the toxic products generated by defense reactions involving nitration. The present study furthers our understanding of the biochemistry of midgut defense reactions to parasite invasion and how these may influence the efficiency of malaria transmission by anopheline mosquitoes.

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