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Malar J. 2006 Mar 28;5:23.

Using green fluorescent malaria parasites to screen for permissive vector mosquitoes.

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Unité de Biologie et Génétique du Paludisme, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 Rue du Dr Roux, 75015 Paris, France.



The Plasmodium species that infect rodents, particularly Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium yoelii, are useful to investigate host-parasite interactions. The mosquito species that act as vectors of human plasmodia in South East Asia, Africa and South America show different susceptibilities to infection by rodent Plasmodium species. P. berghei and P. yoelii infect both Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles stephensi, which are found mainly in Africa and Asia, respectively. However, it was reported that P. yoelii can infect the South American mosquito, Anopheles albimanus, while P. berghei cannot.


P. berghei lines that express the green fluorescent protein were used to screen for mosquitoes that are susceptible to infection by P. berghei. Live mosquitoes were examined and screened for the presence of a fluorescent signal in the abdomen. Infected mosquitoes were then examined by time-lapse microscopy to reveal the dynamic behaviour of sporozoites in haemolymph and extracted salivary glands.


A single fluorescent oocyst can be detected in live mosquitoes and P. berghei can infect A. albimanus. As in other mosquitoes, P. berghei sporozoites can float through the haemolymph and invade A. albimanus salivary glands and they are infectious in mice after subcutaneous injection.


Fluorescent Plasmodium parasites can be used to rapidly screen susceptible mosquitoes. These results open the way to develop a laboratory model in countries where importation of A. gambiae and A. stephensi is not allowed.

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