The Function of Anopheles Serpins during Malaria Parasite Invasion of Mosquito Epithelia
This project aims to gain insight into mosquito epithelial immune responses in the natural parasite/vector combination most important to human health: the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae and the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Research centers on serine protease inhibitors that control key epithelial immune reactions against stages of the malaria parasite within the mosquito. We are exploring the function(s) of one of these inhibitors, SRPN6, in the mosquito midgut and salivary glands and identifying its potential in limiting parasite invasion and/or development. The long-term goal is to understand the malaria parasite invasion events into mosquito epithelia on the molecular level, which could lead to the identification of novel targets for disease control.