During the process of bloodfeeding by Anopheles stephensi, mammalian latent transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is ingested and activated rapidly in the mosquito midgut. Activation may involve heme and nitric oxide (NO), agents released in the midgut during blood digestion and catalysis of L-arginine oxidation by A. stephensi NO synthase (AsNOS). Active TGF-β1 persists in the mosquito midgut to extended times postingestion and is recognized by mosquito cells as a cytokine. In a manner analogous to the regulation of vertebrate inducible NO synthase and malaria parasite (Plasmodium) infection in mammals by TGF-β1, TGF-β1 regulates AsNOS expression and Plasmodium development in A. stephensi. Together, these observations indicate that, through conserved immunological cross talk, mammalian and mosquito immune systems interface with each other to influence the cycle of Plasmodium development.
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