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Reactive oxygen species detoxification by catalase is a major determinant of fecundity in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae

DeJong, Randall J., Miller, Lisa M., Molina-Cruz, Alvaro, Gupta, Lalita, Kumar, Sanjeev, Barillas-Mury, Carolina
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007 v.104 no.7 pp. 2121-2126
Anopheles gambiae, reactive oxygen species, metabolic detoxification, catalase, enzyme activity, fecundity, hydrogen peroxide, animal age, oviposition, alleles, antioxidants
The mosquito Anopheles gambiae is a primary vector of Plasmodium parasites in Africa. The effect of aging on reproductive output in A. gambiae females from three strains that differ in their ability to melanize Plasmodium and in their systemic levels of hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂), a reactive oxygen species (ROS), was analyzed. The number of eggs oviposited after the first blood meal decreases with age in all strains; however, this decline was much more pronounced in the G3 (unselected) and R (refractory to Plasmodium infection) strains than in the S (highly susceptible to Plasmodium) strain. Reduction of ROS levels in G3 and R females by administration of antioxidants reversed this age-related decline in fecundity. The S and G3 strains were fixed for two functionally different catalase alleles that differ at the second amino acid position (Ser2Trp). Biochemical analysis of recombinant proteins revealed that the Trp isoform has lower specific activity and higher Km than the Ser isoform, indicating that the former is a less efficient enzyme. The Trp-for-Ser substitution appears to destabilize the functional tetrameric form of the enzyme. Both alleles are present in the R strain, and Ser/Ser females had significantly higher fecundity than Trp/Trp females. Finally, a systemic reduction in catalase activity by dsRNA-mediated knockdown significantly reduced the reproductive output of mosquito females, indicating that catalase plays a central role in protecting the oocyte and early embryo from ROS damage.