Hematophagous mosquitoes transmit many pathogens that cause human diseases. Pathogen acquisition and transmission occur when female mosquitoes blood feed to acquire nutrients for reproduction. The midgut epithelium of mosquitoes serves as the point of entry for transmissible viruses and parasites.
We studied midgut epithelial dynamics in five major mosquito vector species by quantifying PH3-positive cells (indicative of mitotic proliferation), the incorporation of nucleotide analogs (indicative of DNA synthesis accompanying proliferation and/or endoreplication), and the ploidy (by flow cytometry) of cell populations in the posterior midgut epithelium of adult females. Our results show that the epithelial dynamics of post-emergence maturation and of mature sugar-fed guts were similar in members of the
We saw that epithelial proliferation, differentiation, and endoreplication reshape the blood-fed gut to increase ploidy, possibly to facilitate increased metabolic activity. Our results highlight the plasticity of the midgut epithelium in mosquitoes’ physiological responses to distinct challenges.