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Network Science and Engineering Group

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The protease network that regulates innate immunity in mosquitoes

multilayer network



The innate immune system of mosquitoes is a critical determinant of their vector competence. This includes the ability to support development and transmission of the protozoan parasite species in the genus Plasmodium by Anopheles mosquitoes, the principal vectors of human malaria worldwide. Insight into the regulation of innate immune effector mechanisms remains incomplete, but is vitally important to our fundamental understanding of host-pathogen interactions in this most important human vector-borne disease. The long-term goal is to understand immune system regulation in An. gambiae to inform current and future vector control strategies. The objective of this project is to globally identify mechanisms of immune system regulation by determining the interactions within the extracellular protease network that activate and link opsonization to melanization in the context of distinct microbial infections. 

The NetSE group will contribute to the project by focusing on Aim 3. Under the third aim standard network science approaches will be used to visualize all protease interactions in the system as a multilayered network, and to analyze this network to infer proteolytic flow through that links opsonization and melanization and to identify the key molecules that control immunity. The proposed research is innovative, as it will for the first time evaluate protease cascades as a single, integrated network that controls mosquito humoral immunity during diverse immune challenges. 

Duration September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2023




Kristin Michel (Google Profile) (PI)

Caterina Scoglio (Google Profile) (co-PI)

PhD Student

Junyao Kuang



Supported by Agency National Institute of Health (NIH) Institute National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Type Research Project (R01).  Project #1R01AI140760-01A12. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency.