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PNAS 108 (19): 8026-8029

Copyright © 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences.

From the Cover


Drinking a hot blood meal elicits a protective heat shock response in mosquitoes

Joshua B. Benoita,b,1, Giancarlo Lopez-Martineza,c, Kevin R. Patricka, Zachary P. Phillipsa, Tyler B. Krausea, and David L. Denlingera,1

aDepartments of Entomology and Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210; bDivision of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510; and cDepartment of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Contributed by David L. Denlinger, April 1, 2011 (sent for review March 1, 2011)

Abstract: The mosquito's body temperature increases dramatically when it takes a blood meal from a warm-blooded, vertebrate host. By using the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, we demonstrate that this boost in temperature following a blood meal prompts the synthesis of heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70). This response, elicited by the temperature of the blood meal, is most robust in the mosquito's midgut. When RNA interference is used to suppress expression of hsp70, protein digestion of the blood meal is impaired, leading to production of fewer eggs. We propose that Hsp70 protects the mosquito midgut from the temperature stress incurred by drinking a hot blood meal. Similar increases in hsp70 were documented immediately after blood feeding in two other mosquitoes (Culex pipiens and Anopheles gambiae) and the bed bug, Cimex lectularius, suggesting that this is a common protective response in blood-feeding arthropods.

Author contributions: J.B.B., G.L.-M., and D.L.D. designed research; J.B.B., G.L.-M., K.R.P., Z.P.P., and T.B.K. performed research; J.B.B. and D.L.D. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; J.B.B. and G.L.-M. analyzed data; and J.B.B., G.L.-M., and D.L.D. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article contains supporting information online at

1To whom correspondence may be addressed. E-mail: joshua.benoit{at} or denlinger.1{at}

Strain Variation in the Transcriptome of the Dengue Fever Vector, Aedes aegypti.
M. Bonizzoni, W. A. Dunn, C. L. Campbell, K. E. Olson, O. Marinotti, A. A. James, and R. Kulathinal (2012)
g3 2, 103-114
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