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PLoS One. 2008;3(11):e3672. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003672. Epub 2008 Nov 7.

Anopheles gambiae APL1 is a family of variable LRR proteins required for Rel1-mediated protection from the malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.



We previously identified by genetic mapping an Anopheles gambiae chromosome region with strong influence over the outcome of malaria parasite infection in nature. Candidate gene studies in the genetic interval, including functional tests using the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei, identified a novel leucine-rich repeat gene, APL1, with functional activity against P. berghei.


Manual reannotation now reveals APL1 to be a family of at least 3 independently transcribed genes, APL1A, APL1B, and APL1C. Functional dissection indicates that among the three known APL1 family members, APL1C alone is responsible for host defense against P. berghei. APL1C functions within the Rel1-Cactus immune signaling pathway, which regulates APL1C transcript and protein abundance. Gene silencing of APL1C completely abolishes Rel1-mediated host protection against P. berghei, and thus the presence of APL1C is required for this protection. Further highlighting the influence of this chromosome region, allelic haplotypes at the APL1 locus are genetically associated with and have high explanatory power for the success or failure of P. berghei parasite infection.


APL1C functions as a required transducer of Rel1-dependent immune signal(s) to efficiently protect mosquitoes from P. berghei infection, and allelic genetic haplotypes of the APL1 locus display distinct levels of susceptibility and resistance to P. berghei.

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