The reproductive fitness of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito represents a promising target to prevent malaria transmission. The ecdysteroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), transferred from male to female during copulation, is key to An. gambiae reproductive success as it licenses females to oviposit eggs developed after blood feeding. Here we show that 20E-triggered oviposition in these mosquitoes is regulated by the stress- and immune-responsive c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK).
The oviposition behavior of mosquitoes is mediated by chemical cues. In the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, conspecific larvae produce infochemicals that affect this behavior. Emanations from first instar larvae proved strongly attractive to gravid females, while those from fourth instars caused oviposition deterrence, suggesting that larval developmental stage affected the oviposition choice of the female mosquito.