Dissecting the Genetic Basis of Resistance to Malaria Parasites in Anopheles gambiae

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Science  02 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5949, pp. 147-150
DOI: 10.1126/science.1175241

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Variable Defenses

Recent mapping of resistance alleles in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae that provide protection against the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum revealed a major Plasmodium resistance island (PRI), comprising allelic versions of two leucine-rich repeat-containing proteins, LRIM1 and APL1, which form a complex with the complement C3-like protein TEP1. Using RNA interference inactivation of heterozygous allelic versions of TEP1 genes, Blandin et al. (p. 147) show that TEP1 heterogeneity reflects phenotypic variation among mosquito strains parasitized with the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. It remains unclear whether the observed differences are the outcomes of different selection regimes, because of differing mechanisms, or because the complex is also used in other contexts.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, L3 5QA, UK.

  • Present address: Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark.

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