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J Biol Chem. 2007 Aug 31;282(35):25376-84. Epub 2007 Jun 27.

Mosquito heparan sulfate and its potential role in malaria infection and transmission.

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Department of Medical Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10010, USA.


Heparan sulfate has been isolated for the first time from the mosquito Anopheles stephensi, a known vector for Plasmodium parasites, the causative agents of malaria. Chondroitin sulfate, but not dermatan sulfate or hyaluronan, was also present in the mosquito. The glycosaminoglycans were isolated, from salivary glands and midguts of the mosquito in quantities sufficient for disaccharide microanalysis. Both of these organs are invaded at different stages of the Plasmodium life cycle. Mosquito heparan sulfate was found to contain the critical trisulfated disaccharide sequence, -->4)beta-D-GlcNS6S(1-->4)-alpha-L-IdoA2S(1-->, that is commonly found in human liver heparan sulfate, which serves as the receptor for apolipoprotein E and is also believed to be responsible for binding to the circumsporozoite protein found on the surface of the Plasmodium sporozoite. The heparan sulfate isolated from the whole mosquito binds to circumsporozoite protein, suggesting a role within the mosquito for infection and transmission of the Plasmodium parasite.

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