“The mosquitoes have an innate immune system that is quite effective at fighting against pathogens, so a large portion of pathogens will be killed by various mosquito defense molecules. However, some of the parasites will make it through, and that’s why we still have disease transmission,“ Dimopoulos said. “Our lab engineers mosquitoes to make their immune system more effective.”
One of the mosquitoes’ immune defense mechanisms is a melanization-based defense system: When the immune system detects invasive parasites, this mechanism melanizes parasites in a capsule and eliminates them. However, Plasmodium is able to utilize CTL4 to hide from this defense system.
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