Complement-Like System in the Mosquito Responses Against Malaria Parasites

  • Elena A. LevashinaEmail author
  • Richard H. G. Baxter


The life cycle of malaria parasites is divided between the two hosts with distinct organization of immune responses. While the mammalian host employs innate and adaptive defenses to restrict Plasmodium proliferation, the mosquito vector is devoid of the powerful adaptive arm and relies solely on innate immune responses. The evolutionarily conserved complement system is a powerful innate immune mechanism of animal kingdom. It includes a series of secreted proteins that upon activation bind pathogens and promote their phagocytosis, direct lysis, and recruitment of immune cells. In particular, complement-like thioester-containing protein TEP1 is a major regulator of Plasmodium development within the mosquito vector. In this chapter, we will discuss biological and chemical properties of TEP1 and the role of its genetic polymorphism in shaping mosquito interactions with the malaria parasites.


Malaria Plasmodium Mosquito vector Insect immunity Complement-like system TEP1 Melanization Genetic variation Super-resolution structure 



This work was supported by Max Planck Society to EAL and in part by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (1R01GM114358) of the National Institutes of Health to RHGB.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vector Biology UnitMax Planck Institute for Infection BiologyBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Genetics and Molecular BiochemistryLewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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