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Complex effects of temperature on mosquito immune function.

Murdock CC, Paaijmans KP, Bell AS, King JG, Hillyer JF, Read AF, Thomas MB
Proc Biol Sci. 2012 279 (1741): 3357-66

PMID: 22593107 · PMCID: PMC3385736 · DOI:10.1098/rspb.2012.0638

Over the last 20 years, ecological immunology has provided much insight into how environmental factors shape host immunity and host-parasite interactions. Currently, the application of this thinking to the study of mosquito immunology has been limited. Mechanistic investigations are nearly always conducted under one set of conditions, yet vectors and parasites associate in a variable world. We highlight how environmental temperature shapes cellular and humoral immune responses (melanization, phagocytosis and transcription of immune genes) in the malaria vector, Anopheles stephensi. Nitric oxide synthase expression peaked at 30°C, cecropin expression showed no main effect of temperature and humoral melanization, and phagocytosis and defensin expression peaked around 18°C. Further, immune responses did not simply scale with temperature, but showed complex interactions between temperature, time and nature of immune challenge. Thus, immune patterns observed under one set of conditions provide little basis for predicting patterns under even marginally different conditions. These quantitative and qualitative effects of temperature have largely been overlooked in vector biology but have significant implications for extrapolating natural/transgenic resistance mechanisms from laboratory to field and for the efficacy of various vector control tools.

MeSH Terms (9)

Animals Anopheles Cecropins Host-Parasite Interactions Immunity, Innate Insect Vectors Malaria Nitric Oxide Synthase Temperature

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