Parasite killing in malaria non-vector mosquito Anopheles culicifacies species B: Implication of nitric oxide synthase upregulation

Sonam Vijay, Manmeet Rawat, Tridibes Adak, Rajnikant Dixit, Nutan Nanda, Harish Srivastava, Joginder K. Sharma, Godavarthi B.K.S. Prasad, Arun Sharma

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25 Scopus citations


Background: Anopheles culicifacies, the main vector of human malaria in rural India, is a complex of five sibling species. Despite being phylogenetically related, a naturally selected subgroup species B of this sibling species complex is found to be a poor vector of malaria. We have attempted to understand the differences between vector and non-vector Anopheles culicifacies mosquitoes in terms of transcriptionally activated nitric oxide synthase (AcNOS) physiologies to elucidate the mechanism of refractoriness. Identification of the differences between genes and gene products that may impart refractory phenotype can facilitate development of novel malaria transmission blocking strategies. Methodology/Principal Findings: We conducted a study on phylogenetically related susceptible (species A) and refractory (species B) sibling species of An. culicifacies mosquitoes to characterize biochemical and molecular differences in AcNOS gene and gene elements and their ability to inhibit oocyst growth. We demonstrate that in species B, AcNOS specific activity and nitrite/nitrates in mid-guts and haemolymph were higher as compared to species A after invasion of the mid-gut by P. vivax at the beginning and during the course of blood feeding. Semiquantitative RT-PCR and real time PCR data of AcNOS concluded that this gene is more abundantly expressed in midgut of species B than in species A and is transcriptionally upregulated post blood meals. Dietary feeding of L-NAME along with blood meals significantly inhibited midgut AcNOS activity leading to an increase in oocyst production in An. culicifacies species B. Conclusions/Significance: We hypothesize that upregulation of mosquito innate cytotoxicity due to NOS in refractory strain to Plasmodium vivax infection may contribute to natural refractoriness in An. culicifacies mosquito population. This innate capacity of refractory mosquitoes could represent the ancestral function of the mosquito immune system against the parasite and could be utilized to understand the molecular basis of refractoriness in planning effective vector control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18400
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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