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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Chemical Biology of Insect and Plant Signaling Systems

Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Plasmodium falciparum infection increases Anopheles gambiae attraction to nectar sources and sugar uptake

Authors
item Nyasembea, Vincent -
item Teal, Peter
item Sawaa, Patrick -
item Tumlinson, James -
item Borgemeistera, Christian -
item Torto, Baldwyn -

Submitted to: Current Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2013
Publication Date: February 17, 2014
Citation: Nyasembea, V.0., Teal, P.E., Sawaa, P., Tumlinson, J.H., Borgemeistera, C., Torto, B. 2014. Plasmodium falciparum infection increases Anopheles gambiae attraction to nectar sources and sugar uptake. Current Biology. 24:1-5.

Interpretive Summary: Behavior manipulation of host vectors by malaria parasites to advance their survival and transmission has long been known in parasite-vector-vertebrate host interactions. However, parasite-vector-host plant interactions have largely been overlooked. Scientists at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya, the Chemistry Research Unit of the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS Gainesville, FL and the Department of Entomology Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA studied the effect of the malaria parasite on mosquito foraging behavior for plant nectar. They discovered that parasite-infected An. gambiae stages were more attracted to the suspected host plants than their uninfected counterparts. The results show that the malaria parasite alters the host-plant seeking behaviour of mosquitoes in a manner probably governed by the parasite’s need to advance its transmission while minimizing vector mortality.

Technical Abstract: Plasmodium parasites are known to manipulate the behaviour of their vectors so as to enhance their transmission. However, it is unknown if this vector manipulation also affects mosquito-plant interaction and sugar uptake. Dual-choice olfactometer and probing assays were used to study plant seeking behaviour of uninfected and P. falciparum-infected Anopheles gambiae to three suspected host plant species. We measured the amount of sugar uptake and glycogen and lipid reserves at oocyst- and sporozoite-stage infected mosquitoes. Our results show that both parasite-infected An. gambiae stages were more attracted to the suspected host plants than their uninfected counterparts. Sugar uptake increased at oocyst-stage but reduced at sporozoite-stage, while lipid reserves were depleted at the sporozoite-stage of infection. We conclude that P. falciparum appears to modify host-plant seeking behaviour of An. gambiae in a manner probably governed by the parasite’s need to advance its transmission while minimizing vector mortality.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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