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).
Blood feeding is an integral behavior of mosquitoes to acquire nutritional resources needed for reproduction. This requirement also enables mosquitoes to serve as efficient vectors to acquire and potentially transmit a multitude of mosquito-borne diseases, most notably malaria. Recent studies suggest that mosquito immunity is stimulated following a blood meal, independent of infection status.