Mosquito cellular immunity at single-cell resolution

Science. 2020 Aug 28;369(6507):1128-1132. doi: 10.1126/science.abc0322.


Hemocytes limit the capacity of mosquitoes to transmit human pathogens. Here we profile the transcriptomes of 8506 hemocytes of Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti mosquito vectors. Our data reveal the functional diversity of hemocytes, with different subtypes of granulocytes expressing distinct and evolutionarily conserved subsets of effector genes. A previously unidentified cell type in An. gambiae, which we term "megacyte," is defined by a specific transmembrane protein marker (TM7318) and high expression of lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-α transcription factor 3 (LL3). Knockdown experiments indicate that LL3 mediates hemocyte differentiation during immune priming. We identify and validate two main hemocyte lineages and find evidence of proliferating granulocyte populations. This atlas of medically relevant invertebrate immune cells at single-cell resolution identifies cellular events that underpin mosquito immunity to malaria infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / genetics
  • Aedes / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Anopheles / genetics
  • Anopheles / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Granulocytes / immunology
  • Hemocytes / immunology*
  • Hemocytes / metabolism
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Malaria / immunology
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Malaria / transmission*
  • Mice
  • Mosquito Vectors / genetics
  • Mosquito Vectors / immunology*
  • RNA-Seq
  • Single-Cell Analysis