Microbiota-induced peritrophic matrix regulates midgut homeostasis and prevents systemic infection of malaria vector mosquitoes

PLoS Pathog. 2017 May 17;13(5):e1006391. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006391. eCollection 2017 May.


Manipulation of the mosquito gut microbiota can lay the foundations for novel methods for disease transmission control. Mosquito blood feeding triggers a significant, transient increase of the gut microbiota, but little is known about the mechanisms by which the mosquito controls this bacterial growth whilst limiting inflammation of the gut epithelium. Here, we investigate the gut epithelial response to the changing microbiota load upon blood feeding in the malaria vector Anopheles coluzzii. We show that the synthesis and integrity of the peritrophic matrix, which physically separates the gut epithelium from its luminal contents, is microbiota dependent. We reveal that the peritrophic matrix limits the growth and persistence of Enterobacteriaceae within the gut, whilst preventing seeding of a systemic infection. Our results demonstrate that the peritrophic matrix is a key regulator of mosquito gut homeostasis and establish functional analogies between this and the mucus layers of the mammalian gastrointestinal tract.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / microbiology
  • Epithelium / parasitology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gene Library
  • Homeostasis
  • Host-Parasite Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / immunology*
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Mosquito Vectors / microbiology*
  • Sepsis / immunology*
  • Sepsis / parasitology
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA