Aquatic Exposure to Abscisic Acid Transstadially Enhances Anopheles stephensi Resistance to Malaria Parasite Infection

Genes (Basel). 2020 Nov 24;11(12):1393. doi: 10.3390/genes11121393.


The ancient stress signaling molecule abscisic acid (ABA) is ubiquitous in animals and plants but is perhaps most well-known from its early discovery as a plant hormone. ABA can be released into water by plants and is found in nectar, but is also present in mammalian blood, three key contexts for mosquito biology. We previously established that addition of ABA to Anopheles stephensi larval rearing water altered immature development and life history traits of females derived from treated larvae, while addition of ABA to an infected bloodmeal increased resistance of adult female A. stephensi to human malaria parasite infection. Here we sought to determine whether larval treatment with ABA could similarly impact resistance to parasite infection in females derived from treated larvae and, if so, whether resistance could be extended to another parasite species. We examined nutrient levels and gene expression to demonstrate that ABA can transstadially alter resistance to a rodent malaria parasite with hallmarks of previously observed mechanisms of resistance following provision of ABA in blood to A. stephensi.

Keywords: Anopheles; Plasmodium; abscisic acid; immunity; insulin-like peptide; malaria; mosquito; nitric oxide; resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anopheles / drug effects*
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Disease Resistance / drug effects*
  • Disease Resistance / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Larva / drug effects
  • Larva / parasitology
  • Malaria / drug therapy*
  • Malaria / genetics
  • Malaria / parasitology
  • Mice
  • Parasitic Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Parasitic Diseases / genetics
  • Parasitic Diseases / parasitology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • Abscisic Acid