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Summary

For malaria transmission to occur, Plasmodium sporozoites must infect the salivary glands of their mosquito vectors. This study reports that Anopheles gambiae SRPN6 participates in a local salivary gland epithelial response against the rodent malaria parasite, Plasmodium berghei. We showed previously that SRPN6, an immune inducible midgut invasion marker, influences ookinete development. Here we report that SRPN6 is also specifically induced in salivary glands with the onset of sporozoite invasion. The protein is located in the basal region of epithelial cells in proximity to invading sporozoites. Knockdown of SRPN6 during the late phase of sporogony by RNAi has no effect on oocyst rupture but significantly increases the number of sporozoites present in salivary glands. Despite several differences between the passage of Plasmodium through the midgut and the salivary glands, this study identifies a striking overlap in the molecular responses of these two epithelia to parasite invasion.