Complex environmental drivers of immunity and resistance in malaria mosquitoes

Courtney C. Murdock, Lillian L. Moller-Jacobs, Matthew B. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Considerable research effort has been directed at understanding the genetic and molecular basis of mosquito innate immune mechanisms. Whether environmental factors interact with these mechanisms to shape overall resistance remains largely unexplored. Here, we examine how changes in mean ambient temperature, diurnal temperature fluctuation and time of day of infection affected the immunity and resistance of Anopheles stephensi to infection with Escherichia coli. We used quantitative PCR to estimate the gene expression of three immune genes in response to challenge with heatkilled E. coli. We also infected mosquitoes with live E. coli and ran bacterial growth assays to quantify host resistance. Both mosquito immune parameters and resistance were directly affected by mean temperature, diurnal temperature fluctuation and time of day of infection. Furthermore, there was a suite of complex two- and three-way interactions yielding idiosyncratic phenotypic variation under different environmental conditions. The results demonstrate mosquito immunity and resistance to be strongly influenced by a complex interplay of environmental variables, challenging the interpretation of the very many mosquito immune studies conducted under standard laboratory conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20132030
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume280
Issue number1770
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 18 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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