The transcriptional profiles of mosquito salivary glands upon malaria parasite invasion
Kristin Michel, Division of Biology

The research proposed in this application aims to gain insight into the contribution of salivary gland epithelial
immune responses to malaria parasite transmission in the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. We
recently identified an epithelial immune response that salivary glands mount against Plasmodium berghei
sporozoites. So far, we know that the serine protease inhibitor SRPN6 partakes in this response, which not
only limits to the number of parasites available for transmission but also influences their infectivity. However,
neither the mode of action of this immune response nor it control is currently understood.
The specific hypothesis of this proposal is that mosquito salivary glands express a number of
transcriptionally regulated immune factors that interact with the malaria parasite and influence parasite
transmission. The aims are designed to explore the molecular make-up of the SRPN6-dependent salivary
gland immune response and to gain insight into its regulation.
The aims of the proposed project are:
1. Identification of genes that are transcriptionally co-regulated within salivary glands during rodent
malaria parasite infection by Affymetrix microarrays. Research towards this aim will be performed
with support from the Gene Expression Facility and Bioinformatics Center at KSU.
2. Identification of potentially common transcriptional control mechanisms in salivary glands by
bioinformatics analysis of upstream transcriptional regulatory elements. Research towards this
aim will be performed in collaboration with Dr. Evgeny Zdobnov at Geneva University Medical
This project is designed to provide two important results. The first constitutes one or several gene lists of
candidates that potentially are involved in salivary gland-specific innate immune reactions against parasite
invasion. The second will be a candidate list of transcription factors that potentially regulate innate immune
reactions in mosquito salivary glands. Both results provide valuable preliminary data for future research and its
funding by agencies such as NIH; they will aide subsequent, more detailed analyses of potential contributions
of these genes to Plasmodium parasite killing within its mosquito vector.