Evaluation of the function of a type I peritrophic matrix as a physical barrier for midgut epithelium invasion by mosquito-borne pathogens in Aedes aegypti

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2008 Oct;8(5):701-12. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2007.0270.


In addition to modulating blood meal digestion and protecting the midgut epithelial cells from mechanical and chemical damage, a biological function attributed to the mosquito type I peritrophic matrix (PM) is preventing or reducing pathogen invasion, especially from Plasmodium spp. Previously, we demonstrated that chitin is an essential component of the PM and is synthesized de novo in response to blood feeding in Aedes aegypti. Therefore, knocking down chitin synthase expression by RNA interference severely disrupts formation of the PM. Utilizing this artificial manipulation, we determined that the absence of the PM has no effect on the development of Brugia pahangi or on the dissemination of dengue virus. However, infectivity of Plasmodium gallinaceum is lower, as measured by oocyst intensity, when the PM is absent. Our findings also suggest that the PM seems to localize proteolytic enzymes along the periphery of the blood bolus during the first 24 hours after blood feeding. Finally, the absence of the PM does not affect reproductive fitness, as measured by the number and viability of eggs oviposited.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brugia pahangi / physiology
  • Chickens
  • Dengue Virus / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Gerbillinae
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Insect Vectors*
  • Oviposition
  • Plasmodium gallinaceum / physiology