Additional feeding reveals differences in immune recognition and growth of Plasmodium parasites in the mosquito host
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Mosquitoes may feed multiple times during their life span in addition to those times needed to acquire and transmit malaria. To determine the impact of subsequent blood feeding on parasite development in Anopheles gambiae, we examined Plasmodium parasite infection with or without an additional noninfected blood meal. We found that an additional blood meal significantly reduced Plasmodium berghei immature oocyst numbers, yet had no effect on the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum These observations were reproduced when mosquitoes were fed an artificial protein meal, suggesting that parasite losses are independent of blood ingestion. We found that feeding with either a blood or protein meal compromises midgut basal lamina integrity as a result of the physical distention of the midgut, enabling the recognition and lysis of immature P. berghei oocysts by mosquito complement. Moreover, we demonstrate that additional feeding promotes P. falciparum oocyst growth, suggesting that human malaria parasites exploit host resources provided with blood feeding to accelerate their growth. This is in contrast to experiments with P. berghei, where the size of surviving oocysts is independent of an additional blood meal. Together, these data demonstrate distinct differences in Plasmodium species in evading immune detection and utilizing host resources at the oocyst stage, representing an additional, yet unexplored component of vectorial capacity that has important implications for the transmission of malaria.IMPORTANCE Mosquitoes must blood feed multiple times to acquire and transmit malaria. However, the impact of an additional mosquito blood meal following malaria parasite infection has not been closely examined. Here, we demonstrate that additional feeding affects mosquito vector competence; namely, additional feeding significantly limits Plasmodium berghei infection, yet has no effect on infection of the human parasite P. falciparum Our experiments support that these killing responses are mediated by the physical distension of the midgut and by temporary damage to the midgut basal lamina that exposes immature P. berghei oocysts to mosquito complement, while human malaria parasites are able to evade these killing mechanisms. In addition, we provide evidence that additional feeding promotes P. falciparum oocyst growth. This is in contrast to P. berghei, where oocyst size is independent of an additional blood meal. This suggests that human malaria parasites are able to exploit host resources provided by an additional feeding to accelerate their growth. In summary, our data highlight distinct differences in malaria parasite species in evading immune recognition and adapting to mosquito blood feeding. These observations have important, yet previously unexplored, implications for the impact of multiple blood meals on the transmission of malaria.