Malaria parasites produce volatile mosquito attractants

Megan Kelly, Chih Ying Su, Chad Schaber, Jan R. Crowley, Fong Fu Hsu, John R. Carlson, Audrey R. Odom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains a nonphotosynthetic plastid organelle that possesses plantlike metabolic pathways. Plants use the plastidial isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway to produce volatile odorants, known as terpenes. In this work, we describe the volatile chemical profile of cultured malaria parasites. Among the identified compounds are several plant-like terpenes and terpene derivatives, including known mosquito attractants. We establish the molecular identity of the odorant receptors of the malaria mosquito vector Anopheles gambiae, which responds to these compounds. The malaria parasite produces volatile signals that are recognized by mosquitoes and may thereby mediate host attraction and facilitate transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00235-15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 24 2015


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