Circumsporozoite protein is required for development of malaria sporozoites in mosquitoes

Robert Ménard, Ali Sultan, Claudio Cortes, Rita Altszuler, Melissa R. Van Dijk, Chris J. Janse, Andrew P. Waters, Ruth S. Nussenzweig, Victor Nussenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

223 Citations (Scopus)


Malaria parasites undergo a sporogonic cycle in the mosquito vector. Sporozoites, the form of the parasite injected into the host during a bloodmeal, develop inside oocysts in the insect midgut, then migrate to and eventually invade the salivary glands. The circumsporozoite protein (CS), one of the major proteins synthesized by salivary gland sporozoites, is a surface-associated molecule which is important in sporozoite infectivity to the host. Here, by gene targeting, we created Plasmodium berghei lines in which the single-copy CS gene was disrupted. The CS(-) and wild-type parasites produced similar numbers of oocysts of comparable size in the mosquito midgut. In the CS(-) oocysts, however, sporozoite formation was profoundly inhibited. CS therefore appears to have a pleiotropic role and to be vital for malaria parasites in both the vector and the host: in mosquitoes, CS is essential for sporozoite development within oocysts, and in the vertebrate host it promotes sporozoite attachment to hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-339
Number of pages4
Issue number6614
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

Cite this

Ménard, R., Sultan, A., Cortes, C., Altszuler, R., Van Dijk, M. R., Janse, C. J., Waters, A. P., Nussenzweig, R. S., & Nussenzweig, V. (1997). Circumsporozoite protein is required for development of malaria sporozoites in mosquitoes. Nature, 385(6614), 336-339.