The insulin signaling cascade from nematodes to mammals: Insights into innate immunity of Anopheles mosquitoes to malaria parasite infection

Shirley Luckhart, Michael A Riehle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


As revealed over the past 20 years, the insulin signaling cascade plays a central role in regulating immune and oxidative stress responses that affect the life spans of mammals and two model invertebrates, the nematode Caenorhabitis elegans and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In mosquitoes, insulin signaling regulates key steps in egg maturation and immunity and likely affects aging, although the latter has yet to be examined in detail. Reproduction, immunity and aging critically influence the capacity of mosquitoes to effectively transmit malaria parasites. Current work has demonstrated that molecules from the invading parasite and the blood meal elicit functional responses in female mosquitoes that are regulated through the insulin signaling pathway or by cross-talk with interacting pathways. Defining the details of these regulatory interactions presents significant challenges for future research, but will increase our understanding of mosquito/malaria parasite transmission and of the conservation of insulin signaling as a key regulatory nexus in animal biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-656
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007



  • Aging
  • Anopheles
  • Innate immunity
  • Insulin
  • Malaria
  • Mosquito
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Plasmodium
  • Transforming growth factor-β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Immunology

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