In vivo identification of novel regulators and conserved pathways of phagocytosis in A. gambiae

Immunity. 2005 Jul;23(1):65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2005.05.006.


Anopheles gambiae uses effective immune responses, including phagocytosis, to fight microbial infection. We have developed a semiquantitative phagocytosis test and used it in conjunction with dsRNA gene silencing to test the in vivo roles of 71 candidate genes in phagocytosis of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Here, we show that inactivation of 26 genes changes the phagocytic activity by more than 45% and that two pathways similar to those that mediate apoptotic cell removal in Caenorhabditis elegans are used in A. gambiae for phagocytosis of microorganisms. Simultaneous inactivation of the identified regulators of phagocytosis and conserved components defining each signaling pathway permitted provisional assignment of the novel regulators to one or the other pathway. Pathway inactivation enhances at least three times the ability of E. coli and S. aureus to proliferate in the mosquito. Interestingly, mosquito survival is not compromised even if both pathways are perturbed simultaneously.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / genetics*
  • Anopheles / immunology*
  • Anopheles / microbiology
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Phagocytosis / genetics*
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / genetics
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology


  • Insect Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • RNA, Double-Stranded