Caudal is a negative regulator of the Anopheles IMD pathway that controls resistance to Plasmodium falciparum infection

Dev Comp Immunol. 2013 Apr;39(4):323-32. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2012.10.009. Epub 2012 Nov 22.


Malaria parasite transmission depends upon the successful development of Plasmodium in its Anopheles mosquito vector. The mosquito's innate immune system constitutes a major bottleneck for parasite population growth. We show here that in Anopheles gambiae, the midgut-specific transcription factor Caudal acts as a negative regulator in the Imd pathway-mediated immune response against the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Caudal also modulates the mosquito midgut bacterial flora. RNAi-mediated silencing of Caudal enhanced the mosquito's resistance to bacterial infections and increased the transcriptional abundance of key immune effector genes. Interestingly, Caudal's silencing resulted in an increased lifespan of the mosquito, while it impaired reproductive fitness with respect to egg laying and hatching.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / genetics
  • Anopheles / immunology*
  • Anopheles / microbiology
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Digestive System / microbiology
  • Genetic Fitness / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Insect Vectors / genetics
  • Insect Vectors / immunology
  • Insect Vectors / microbiology
  • Insect Vectors / parasitology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / transmission
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / pathogenicity
  • RNA Interference
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Transcription Factors