Aquaglyceroporin function in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Kun Liu, Hitoshi Tsujimoto, Yuzheng Huang, Jason L. Rasgon, Peter Agre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background information: Anopheles gambiae is the major mosquito vector for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, where it survives in stressful climates. Aquaporin water channels are expressed in all life forms, where they provide environmental adaptation by conferring rapid trans-cellular movement of water (classical aquaporins) or water plus glycerol (aquaglyceroporins). Here, we report an aquaglyceroporin homolog in A. gambiae, AgAQP3 (A. gambiae aquaglyceroporin 3). Results: Despite atypical pore-lining amino acids, AgAQP3 is permeated by water, glycerol and urea, and is not significantly inhibited by 1 mM HgCl2. AgAQP3 is expressed more heavily in male mosquitoes, yet adult female A. gambiae abundantly express AgAQP3 in Malpighian tubules and gut where large amounts of fluid exchange occur during blood meal digestion, water and nutrient absorption and waste secretion. Reducing expression of AgAQP3 by RNA interference reduces median mosquito survival at 39°C. After an infectious blood meal, mosquitoes with depleted AgAQP3 expression exhibit fewer P. falciparum oocysts in the midgut compared to control mosquitoes. Conclusions: Our studies reveal critical contributions of AgAQP3 to A. gambiae heat tolerance and P. falciparum development in vivo. Significance: This study indicates that AgAQP3 may be a major factor explaining why A. gambiae is an important malaria vector mosquito in sub-Saharan Africa, and may be a potential target for novel malaria control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-305
Number of pages12
JournalBiology of the Cell
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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