Complex effects of temperature on mosquito immune function

C. C. Murdock, Krijn P. Paaijmans, Andrew S. Bells, Jonas G. King, Julián F. Hillyer, Andrew F. Read, Matthew B. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Over the last 20 years, ecological immunology has provided much insight into how environmental factors shape host immunity and host-parasite interactions. Currently, the application of this thinking to the study of mosquito immunology has been limited. Mechanistic investigations are nearly always conducted under one set of conditions, yet vectors and parasites associate in a variable world. We highlight how environmental temperature shapes cellular and humoral immune responses (melanization, phagocytosis and transcription of immune genes) in the malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi. Nitric oxide synthase expression peaked at 308C, cecropin expression showed nomain effect of temperature and humoralmelanization, and phagocytosis and defensin expression peaked around 188C. Further, immune responses did not simply scale with temperature, but showed complex interactions between temperature, time and nature of immune challenge. Thus, immune patterns observed under one set of conditions provide little basis for predicting patterns under evenmarginally different conditions. These quantitative and qualitative effects of temperature have largely been overlooked in vector biology but have significant implications for extrapolating natural/transgenic resistance mechanisms from laboratory to field and for the efficacy of various vector control tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3357-3366
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1741
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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