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Keywords:

  • 2-DE;
  • Host–parasite systems;
  • Malaria;
  • MS;
  • Mosquitoes

Abstract

Despite increasing evidence of behavioural manipulation of their vectors by pathogens, the underlying mechanisms causing infected vectors to act in ways that benefit pathogen transmission remain enigmatic in most cases. Here, 2-D DIGE coupled with MS were employed to analyse and compare the head proteome of mosquitoes (Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (Giles)) infected with the malarial parasite (Plasmodium berghei) with that of uninfected mosquitoes. This approach detected altered levels of 12 protein spots in the head of mosquitoes infected with sporozoites. These proteins were subsequently identified using MS and functionally classified as belonging to metabolic, synaptic, molecular chaperone, signalling, and cytoskeletal groups. Our results indicate an altered energy metabolism in the head of sporozoite-infected mosquitoes. Some of the up-/down-regulated proteins identified, such as synapse-associated protein, 14-3-3 protein and calmodulin, have previously been shown to play critical roles in the CNS of both invertebrates and vertebrates. Furthermore, a heat shock response (HSP 20) and a variation of cytoarchitecture (tropomyosins) have been shown. Discovery of these proteins sheds light on potential molecular mechanisms that underlie behavioural modifications and offers new insights into the study of intimate interactions between Plasmodium and its Anopheles vector.