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Exp Parasitol. 1998 May;89(1):103-12.

Plasmodium gallinaceum: differential killing of some mosquito stages of the parasite by insect defensin.

Author information

1
Medical Entomology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. shahabuddin@nih.gov

Abstract

We examined several insect antimicrobial peptides to study their effect on Plasmodium gallinaceum zygotes, ookinetes, oocysts, and sporozoites. Only two insect defensins-Aeschna cyanea (dragon fly) and Phormia terranovae (flesh fly)-had a profound toxic effect on the oocysts in Aedes aegypti and on isolated sporozoites. The defensins affected the oocysts in a time-dependent manner. Injecting the peptide into the hemolymph 1 or 2 days after an infectious blood meal had no significant effect on prevalence of infection or relative oocyst density per mosquito. When injected 3 days after parasite ingestion, the relative oocyst density was significantly reduced. Injection on day 4 or later damaged the developing oocysts, although the oocysts density per mosquito was not significantly different when examined on day 8. The oocysts were swollen or had extensive internal vacuolization. The peptides had no detectable effect on the early stages of the parasite: the zygotes and ookinetes tested in vitro. Both the defensins were highly toxic to isolated sporozoites in vitro as indicated by disruption of the membrane permeability barrier, a change in morphology, and loss of motility. In contrast to the toxicity of cecropin and magainin for mosquitoes, defensin, at concentrations that kill parasites, is not toxic to mosquitoes, suggesting that defensin should be studied further as a potential molecule to block sporogonic development of Plasmodium.

PMID:
9603495
DOI:
10.1006/expr.1998.4212
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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