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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374039

Title: Mosquito cellular immunity at single-cell resolution

item RADDI, GIANMARCO - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item BARLETTA, ANA BEATRIZ - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item EFREMOVA, MIRJANA - Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
item Ramirez, Jose
item CANTERA, RAFAEL - Stockholm University
item TEICHMANN, SARAH - Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
item BARILLAS-MURY, CAROLINA - National Institutes Of Health (NIH)
item BILLKER, OLIVER - Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

Submitted to: Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/30/2020
Publication Date: 8/28/2020
Citation: Raddi, G., Barletta, A.B.F., Efremova, M., Ramirez, J.L., Cantera, R., Teichmann, S.A., Barillas-Mury, C., Billker, O. 2020. Mosquito cellular immunity at single-cell resolution. Science. 369(6507):1128-1132.

Interpretive Summary: Mosquito hemocytes (insect blood cells) are important components of the mosquito defenses, controlling microbial infections and limiting its capacity to transmit human pathogens. This study describes the molecular responses of the different populations of mosquito hemocytes under the context of blood feeding and malaria parasite infection. By looking at a single cell resolution this study characterizes new cell types in two of the most important mosquito species, and identifies new molecules involved in mosquito defenses against the malaria parasite. The data provided in this study provides a molecular resource that will advance research into mosquito hemocyte biology.

Technical Abstract: Insect hemocytes are the functional equivalents of leukocytes and limit the capacity of mosquitoes to transmit human pathogens through phagocytosis, encapsulation, secretion of immune factors and immune priming1,2. Here we profile the transcriptomes of 8506 hemocytes of Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti, two important mosquito vectors. Blood feeding, infection with malaria parasites and other immune challenges reveal a previously unknown functional diversity of hemocytes, with different types of granulocytes expressing distinct and evolutionarily conserved subsets of effector genes. A new cell type, which we term megacyte, is defined in Anopheles by a unique transmembrane protein marker (TM7318) and high expression of LPS-Induced TNF-alpha transcription factor 3 (LL3). Knock-down experiments indicate that LL3 mediates hemocyte differentiation during immune priming. We identify two main hemocyte lineages and find evidence of proliferating granulocyte populations. We validate our analysis with RNA in-situ hybridization and highlight the mobilization of sessile hemocytes into circulation upon infection. Our data ( provide the first atlas of medically relevant invertebrate immune cells at single cell resolution. It identifies new cell types and differentiation events that underpin mosquito immunity to malaria infection and provide a resource for research into mosquito hemocyte biology.