RNAi knock-downs support roles for the mucin-like (AeIMUC1) gene and short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) gene in Aedes aegypti susceptibility to Plasmodium gallinaceum


Dr David W. Severson, Department of Biological Sciences, Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, 107C Galvin Life Sciences, Notre Dame, IN 46556-5645, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 574 631 3826; Fax: +1 574 631 7413; E-mail: severson.1@nd.edu


The mosquito midgut represents the first barrier encountered by the Plasmodium parasite (Haemosporida: Plasmodiidae) when it is ingested in blood from an infected vertebrate. Previous studies identified the Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) mucin-like (AeIMUC1) and short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) genes as midgut-expressed candidate genes influencing susceptibility to infection by Plasmodium gallinaceum (Brumpt). We used RNA inference (RNAi) by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) injections to examine ookinete survival to the oocyst stage following individual gene knock-downs. Double-stranded RNA gene knock-downs were performed 3 days prior to P. gallinaceum infection and oocyst development was evaluated at 7 days post-infection. Mean numbers of parasites developing to the oocyst stage were significantly reduced by 52.3% in dsAeIMUC1-injected females and by 36.5% in dsSDR-injected females compared with females injected with a dsβ-gal control. The prevalence of infection was significantly reduced in dsAeIMUC1- and dsSDR-injected females compared with females injected with dsβ-gal; these reductions resulted in a two- and three-fold increase in the number of uninfected individuals, respectively. Overall, these results suggest that both AeIMUC1 and SDR play a role in Ae. aegypti vector competence to P. gallinaceum.