Research ArticleMALARIA

Activation of mosquito complement antiplasmodial response requires cellular immunity

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Science Immunology  20 Jan 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 7, eaal1505
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aal1505

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More than a vector

Mosquitoes—the bane of lovers of the outdoors—are also carriers of serious diseases, including malaria, dengue, and Zika virus. Why does the mosquito itself not succumb to infection? Castillo et al. now report that the mosquito immune response to Plasmodium requires cellular immunity. They found that midgut nitration that results from Plasmodium infection in mosquitoes triggered the release of hemocyte-derived microvesicles and that these microvesicles were necessary for the activation of the mosquito complement-like system, which limits Plasmodium infection. Nitration-mediated hemocyte activation may parallel innate immune response to tissue damage in other organisms and shows a clear role for cellular immunity in the mosquito response to infection.