• Aedes aegypti;
  • Plasmodium gallinaceum;
  • innate immunity;
  • malaria;
  • mosquito midgut;
  • vector competence

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.