A Peroxidase/Dual Oxidase System Modulates Midgut Epithelial Immunity in Anopheles gambiae

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Science  26 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5973, pp. 1644-1648
DOI: 10.1126/science.1184008

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Mosquito Double Act

Peroxidase/dual oxidase (duox) systems act in concert to catalyze the nonspecific formation of dityrosine bonds, which cross-link a variety of proteins. Knowing that these reactions are involved in fine-tuning insect immune responses, Kumar et al. (p. 1644, published online 11 March) investigated how the peroxidase/duox system in malaria-vector mosquitoes protects the gut flora by modulating midgut antibacterial responses. Generating immune reactions resulted in a loss of mosquito egg viability, but modulating host responses allowed malaria parasites to persist among the surviving commensal flora. The peroxidase/duox system appears to promote dityrosine bond formation between proteins across the surface of midgut epithelial cells to form a layer that inhibits immune recognition and mediator release. Interference with the formation of this layer might provide a target for mosquito and malaria control.


Extracellular matrices in diverse biological systems are cross-linked by dityrosine covalent bonds catalyzed by the peroxidase/oxidase system. We show that a peroxidase, secreted by the Anopheles gambiae midgut, and dual oxidase form a dityrosine network that decreases gut permeability to immune elicitors. This network protects the microbiota by preventing activation of epithelial immunity. It also provides a suitable environment for malaria parasites to develop within the midgut lumen without inducing nitric oxide synthase expression. Disruption of this barrier results in strong and effective pathogen-specific immune responses.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Present address: Biological Sciences Group, Faculty Division III, Birla Institute of Technology and Science–Pilani, Pilani 333031, Rajasthan, India.

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