Characterization of the LITAF-like gene family in Anopheles gambiae and its possible role in mosquito antimalarial
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The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.
Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.
The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.
Malaria is a dangerous and sometimes fatal parasitic disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female mosquitoes. Only a few species of mosquitoes are capable of transmitting malaria parasites, the most prominent of which being Anopheles gambiae, due in part to the actions of the mosquito innate immune system. To better understand the contributions of innate immunity system on malaria parasite development in the mosquito host, our research has focused on the characterization of a highly conserved LPSinduced TNF-α factor (LITAF)-like gene family in An. gambiae. Previous experiments have demonstrated that LITAF-like 3, or LL3, is an important transcription factor required for immune cell differentiation and is a key determinant of parasite survival. Here we explore the regulation and the respective contributions of the other six LITAF-like genes in An. gambiae to malaria parasite development. Mosquito immunity to parasites may prove a vital translational tool in preventing transmission.