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The Co-Expression Pattern of Odorant Binding Proteins and Olfactory Receptors Identify Distinct Trichoid Sensilla on the Antenna of the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae  [PDF]
Anna Schultze, Pablo Pregitzer, Marika F. Walter, Daniel F. Woods, Osvaldo Marinotti, Heinz Breer, Jürgen Krieger
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069412
Abstract: The initial steps of odorant recognition in the insect olfactory system involve odorant binding proteins (OBPs) and odorant receptors (ORs). While large families of OBPs have been identified in the malaria vector A. gambiae, little is known about their expression pattern in the numerous sensory hairs of the female antenna. We applied whole mount fluorescence in Situ hybridization (WM-FISH) and fluorescence immunohistochemistry (WM-FIHC) to investigate the sensilla co-expression of eight A. gambiae OBPs (AgOBPs), most notably AgOBP1 and AgOBP4, which all have abundant transcripts in female antenna. WM-FISH analysis of female antennae using AgOBP-specific probes revealed marked differences in the number of cells expressing each various AgOBPs. Testing combinations of AgOBP probes in two-color WM-FISH resulted in distinct cellular labeling patterns, indicating a combinatorial expression of AgOBPs and revealing distinct AgOBP requirements for various functional sensilla types. WM-FIHC with antisera to AgOBP1 and AgOBP4 confirmed expression of the respective proteins by support cells and demonstrated a location of OBPs within sensilla trichodea. Based on the finding that AgOBP1 and AgOBP4 as well as the receptor type AgOR2 are involved in the recognition of indole, experiments were performed to explore if the AgOBP-types and AgOR2 are co-expressed in distinct olfactory sensilla. Applying two-color WM-FISH with AgOBP-specific probes and probes specific for AgOR2 revealed a close association of support cells bearing transcripts for AgOBP1 and AgOBP4 and neurons with a transcript for the receptor AgOR2. Moreover, combined WM-FISH/-FIHC approaches using an AgOR2-specific riboprobe and AgOBP-specific antisera revealed the expression of the “ligand-matched” AgOBP1, AgOBP4 and AgOR2 to single trichoid hairs. This result substantiates the notion that a specific response to indole is mediated by an interplay of the proteins.
Visual and olfactory associative learning in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto
Nora Chilaka, Elisabeth Perkins, Frédéric Tripet
Malaria Journal , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-11-27
Abstract: A simple behavioural assays was developed to study visual and olfactory associative learning in Anopheles gambiae, the main vector of malaria in Africa. Two contrasted membrane qualities or levels of blood palatability were used as reinforcing stimuli for bi-directional conditioning during blood feeding.Under such experimental conditions An. gambiae females learned very rapidly to associate visual (chequered and white patterns) and olfactory cues (presence and absence of cheese or Citronella smell) with the reinforcing stimuli (bloodmeal quality) and remembered the association for up to three days. Associative learning significantly increased with the strength of the conditioning stimuli used. Importantly, learning sometimes occurred faster when a positive reinforcing stimulus (palatable blood) was associated with an innately preferred cue (such as a darker visual pattern). However, the use of too attractive a cue (e.g. Shropshire cheese smell) was counter-productive and decreased learning success.The results address an important knowledge gap in mosquito ecology and emphasize the role of associative memory for An. gambiae's host finding and blood-feeding behaviour with important potential implications for vector control.As in many animals, memory and learning are fundamental aspects of the ecology of insect species. Visual place learning is critical for foraging and homing in most insects [1-4] and is most conspicuously demonstrated in the social insects [5,6]. Olfactory learning is equally important as it enables insects to optimize foraging and other activities in their local environment and has also been reported in several insect species [7-9]. Understanding learning and memory bears particular importance for mosquitoes, sandflies, kissing bugs and other insects that transmit human diseases because their behaviour, particularly in relation to host finding and bloodmeal acquisition, may have critical implication for their vectorial capacity and thus the epidemio
Female Anopheles gambiae antennae: increased transcript accumulation of the mosquito-specific odorant-binding-protein OBP2
Seth A Hoffman, Lakshminarayanan Aravind, Soundarapandian Velmurugan
Parasites & Vectors , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1756-3305-5-27
Abstract: Our initial focus is on odorant binding proteins with differential transcript accumulation between female and male mosquitoes. We report that the odorant binding protein, OBP2 (AGAP003306), had increased expression in the antennae of female vs. male Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (G3 strain). The increased expression in antennae of females of this gene by quantitative RT-PCR was 4.2 to 32.3 fold in three independent biological replicates and two technical replicate experiments using A. gambiae from two different laboratories. OBP2 is a member of the vast OBP superfamily of insect odorant binding proteins and belongs to the predominantly dipteran clade that includes the Culex oviposition kairomone-binding OBP1. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that its orthologs are present across culicid mosquitoes and are likely to play a conserved role in recognizing a molecule that might be critical for female behavior.OBP2 has increased mRNA transcript accumulation in the antennae of female as compared to male A. gambiae. This molecule and related molecules may play an important role in female mosquito feeding and breeding behavior. This finding may be a step toward providing a foundation for understanding mosquito olfactory requirements and developing control strategies based on reducing mosquito feeding and breeding success.Factors that influence mosquito fitness, especially host seeking and mate finding are complex and modulated by multiple cues, of which olfactory cues are most important [1-4]. Detection of odor molecules requires odorant binding proteins (OBPs) that are abundant in antennal chemosensilla [5,6]. OBPs are low molecular weight soluble proteins that bind and transport odor molecules from sensillae to G-protein-coupled receptors in olfactory sensory neurons [6]. The finding of receptor AgamOBP1 binding to its ligand indole demonstrated the significance of OBPs in odor recognition [7]. Understanding olfactory function could lead to development of malaria control
The Cadherin Superfamily in Anopheles gambiae: a Comparative Study With Drosophila melanogaster
Catarina Moita,Sérgio Sim es,Luís F. Moita,António Jacinto,Pedro Fernandes
Comparative and Functional Genomics , 2005, DOI: 10.1002/cfg.473
Abstract: The cadherin superfamily is a diverse and multifunctional group of proteins with extensive representation across genomes of phylogenetically distant species that is involved in cell–cell communication and adhesion. The mosquito Anopheles gambiae is an emerging model organism for the study of innate immunity and host–pathogen interactions, where the malaria parasite induces a profound rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton at critical stages of infection. We have used bioinformatics tools to retrieve present sequence knowledge about the complete repertoire of cadherins in A. gambiae and compared it to that of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. In A. gambiae, we have identified 43 genes coding for cadherin extracellular domains that were re-annotated to 38 genes and represent an expansion of this gene family in comparison to other invertebrate organisms. The majority of Drosophila cadherins show a 1 : 1 Anopheles orthologue, but we have observed a remarkable expansion in some groups in A. gambiae, such as N-cadherins, that were recently shown to have a role in the olfactory system of the fruit fly. In vivo dsRNA silencing of overrepresented genes in A. gambiae and other genes showing expression at critical tissues for parasite infection will likely advance our understanding of the problems of host preference and host𕢓pathogen interactions in this mosquito species.
Identification and expression profiling of putative odorant-binding proteins in the malaria mosquitoes, Anopheles gambiae and A. arabiensis
Zhengxi Li,Jing-Jiang Zhou,Zuorui Shen,Field Lin
Science China Life Sciences , 2004, DOI: 10.1360/03yc0232
Abstract: Olfaction plays a major role in host-seeking behaviour of mosquitoes. An informatics-based genome-wide analysis of odorant-binding protein (OBP) homologues is undertaken, and 32 putative OBP genes in total in the whole genome sequences of Anopheles gambiae are identified. Tissue-specific expression patterns of all A. gambiae OBP candidates are determined by semi-quantitative Reverse Transcription (RT)-PCR using mosquito actin gene as internal expression control standard. The results showed that 20 OBP candidates had strong expression in mosquito olfactory tissues (female antennae), which indicate that OBPs may play an important role in regulating mosquito olfactory behaviours. Species-specific expression patterns of all putative anopheline OBPs are also studied in two of the most important malaria vectors in A. gambiae complex, i.e. A. gambiae and A. arabiensis, which found 12 of the putative OBP genes examined displayed species-differential expression patterns. The cumulative relative expression intensity of the OBPs in A. arabiensis antennae was higher than that in A. gambiae (the ratio is 1441.45:1314.12), which might be due to their different host preference behaviour. While A. gambiae is a highly anthropophilic mosquito, A. arabiensis is more opportunistic (varying from anthropophilic to zoophilic). So the latter should need more OBPs to support its host selection preference. Identification of mosquito OBPs and verification of their tissue- and species-specific expression patterns represent the first step towards further molecular analysis of mosquito olfactory mechanism, such as recombinant expression and ligand identification.
Antennal expression pattern of two olfactory receptors and an odorant binding protein implicated in host odor detection by the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae
Danuta Schymura, Maike Forstner, Anna Schultze, Thomas Kr?ber, Luc Swevers, Kostas Iatrou, Jürgen Krieger
International Journal of Biological Sciences , 2010,
Abstract: Odor-detection in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae involves large families of diverse proteins, including multiple odorant binding proteins (AgOBPs) and olfactory receptors (AgORs). The receptors AgOR1 and AgOR2, as well as the binding protein AgOBP1, have been implicated in the recognition of human host odors. In this study, we have explored the expression of these olfactory proteins, as well as the ubiquitous odorant receptor heteromerization partner AgOR7, in the thirteen flagellomeres (segments) of female and male antenna. Expressing cells were visualized by adapting a whole mount fluorescence in situ hybridization method. In female mosquitoes, AgOR1-expressing olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) were almost exclusively segregated in segments 3 to 9, whereas AgOR2-expressing ORNs were distributed over flagellomeres 2 to 13. Different individuals comprised a similar number of cells expressing a distinct AgOR type, although their antennal topography and number per flagellomere varied. AgOBP1-expressing support cells were present in segments 3 to 13 of the female antenna, with increasing numbers towards the distal end. In male mosquitoes, total numbers of AgOR- and AgOBP1-expressing cells were much lower. While AgOR2-expressing cells were found on both terminal flagellomeres, AgOR1 cells were restricted to the most distal segment. High densities of AgOBP1-expressing cells were identified in segment 13, whereas segment 12 comprised very few. Altogether, the results demonstrate that both sexes express the two olfactory receptor types as well as the binding protein AgOBP1 but there is a significant sexual dimorphism concerning the number and distribution of these cells. This may suggest gender-specific differences in the ability to detect distinct odorants, specifically human host-derived volatiles.
Attraction of Anopheles gambiae to odour baits augmented with heat and moisture
Evelyn A Olanga, Michael N Okal, Phoebe A Mbadi, Elizabeth D Kokwaro, Wolfgang R Mukabana
Malaria Journal , 2010, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-6
Abstract: A dual-port olfactometer was used to assess behavioural responses of female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes towards synthetic versus natural (whole human emanations and worn socks) attractants. The synthetic attractants included a standard blend consisting of ammonia, carbon dioxide and water; and Ifakara blend 1 (IB1) consisting of various aliphatic carboxylic acids. Natural attractants were obtained from two males known to be less and highly attractive (LA and HA, respectively) to the mosquitoes. Mosquito responses to the volunteers' worn socks were also investigated. The effect of heat (25-27°C) and moisture (75-85%) on the mosquito behavioural responses was determined.A significantly higher proportion of mosquitoes was attracted to each volunteer when compared to the standard blend. Whereas the proportion of mosquitoes attracted to person LA versus IB1 (49% versus 51%, respectively; P = 0.417) or his worn socks did not differ (61% versus 39%, respectively; P = 0.163), far more mosquitoes were attracted to person HA relative to IB1 (96% versus 4%; P = 0.001) or his worn socks (91% versus 9%; P = 0.001). Person HA attracted a significantly higher proportion of mosquitoes than his worn socks, the standard blend and IB1 when these were augmented with heat, moisture or both (P = 0.001). Similar results were obtained with person LA except that the proportion of mosquitoes attracted to him versus his worn sock augmented with heat (P = 0.65) or IB1 augmented with heat and moisture (P = 0.416) did not differ significantly.These findings indicate that olfactory cues are key mediators of the mosquito host-seeking process and that heat and moisture play a minor role. The need for a standard, highly stringent positive control for screening synthetic attractants is strongly highlighted.Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, i.e. the principal vector of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa [1-4], locates its blood meal hosts largely based on olfactory cues [5]. Physical cues, encompassing hea
Comprehensive Genetic Dissection of the Hemocyte Immune Response in the Malaria Mosquito Anopheles gambiae  [PDF]
Fabrizio Lombardo ,Yasmeen Ghani,Fotis C. Kafatos,George K. Christophides
PLOS Pathogens , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003145
Abstract: Reverse genetics in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae by RNAi mediated gene silencing has led in recent years to an advanced understanding of the mosquito immune response against infections with bacteria and malaria parasites. We developed RNAi screens in An. gambiae hemocyte-like cells using a library of double-stranded RNAs targeting 109 genes expressed highly or specifically in mosquito hemocytes to identify novel regulators of the hemocyte immune response. Assays included phagocytosis of bacterial bioparticles, expression of the antimicrobial peptide CEC1, and basal and induced expression of the mosquito complement factor LRIM1. A cell viability screen was also carried out to assess dsRNA cytotoxicity and to identify genes involved in cell growth and survival. Our results identify 22 novel immune regulators, including proteins putatively involved in phagosome assembly and maturation (Ca2+ channel, v-ATPase and cyclin-dependent protein kinase), pattern recognition (fibrinogen-domain lectins and Nimrod), immune modulation (peptidase and serine protease homolog), immune signaling (Eiger and LPS-induced factor), cell adhesion and communication (Laminin B1 and Ninjurin) and immune homeostasis (Lipophorin receptor). The development of robust functional cell-based assays paves the way for genome-wide functional screens to study the mosquito immune response to infections with human pathogens.
Anopheles gambiae densovirus (AgDNV) has negligible effects on adult survival and transcriptome of its mosquito host  [PDF]
Xiaoxia Ren,Grant L. Hughes,Guodong Niu,Yasutsugu Suzuki,Jason L. Rasgon
PeerJ , 2015, DOI: 10.7717/peerj.584
Abstract: Mosquito densoviruses (DNVs) are candidate agents for paratransgenic control of malaria and other vector-borne diseases. Unlike other mosquito DNVs, the Anopheles gambiae DNV (AgDNV) is non-pathogenic to larval mosquitoes. However, the cost of infection upon adults and the molecular mechanisms underpinning infection in the mosquito host are unknown. Using life table analysis, we show that AgDNV infection has minimal effects on An. gambiae survival (no significant effect in 2 replicates and a slight 2 day survival decrease in the third replicate). Using microarrays, we show that AgDNV has very minimal effect on the adult mosquito transcriptome, with only 4–15 genes differentially regulated depending on the statistical criteria imposed. The minimal impact upon global transcription provides some mechanistic understanding of lack of virus pathogenicity, suggesting a long co-evolutionary history that has shifted towards avirulence. From an applied standpoint, lack of strong induced fitness costs makes AgDNV an attractive agent for paratransgenic malaria control.
A longitudinal study on Anopheles mosquito larval abundance in distinct geographical and environmental settings in western Kenya
Susan S Imbahale, Krijn P Paaijmans, Wolfgang R Mukabana, Ron van Lammeren, Andrew K Githeko, Willem Takken
Malaria Journal , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-81
Abstract: The study was conducted in two highland villages and one village, at a lower altitude, in the Lake Victoria basin, where malaria is endemic and transmitted by the same Anopheles mosquito species. In each village the stability of mosquito larval habitats was classified as either temporary or permanent. The productivity of these habitat types was quantified by carrying out weekly larval sampling using a standard dipping method for a period of two years. During sampling the physical characteristic of the larval habitat, including the vegetation cover were noted. Ambient temperature, rainfall and relative humidity were recorded on a 21 × Micro-datalogger in each study site.Anopheles gambiae sensu lato larvae were found in all study sites. Anopheles arabiensis was more abundant (93%) in Nyalenda (Lake Victoria basin) and Fort Ternan (highland area; 71%). In Lunyerere (highland area), An. gambiae sensu stricto comprised 93% of the total An. gambiae s.l. larvae. Larvae of An. gambiae s.l. mosquitoes were present in both temporary and permanent habitats with monthly variations dependent on rainfall intensity and location. Anopheles larvae were more likely to be found in man-made as opposed to natural habitats. Grassy habitats were preferred and were, therefore, more productive of Anopheles larvae compared to other habitat types. Weekly rainfall intensity led to an increase or decrease in mosquito larval abundance depending on the location.The majority of mosquito breeding habitats were man made in all sites. Both temporary and permanent habitats were suitable for An. gambiae breeding. In Fort Ternan temporary sites were favoured for mosquito breeding above permanent sites. Significant differences in larval abundance were found depending on weekly rainfall intensity. Larval source management programmes should target permanent and temporary habitats equally and work closely with land and home owners as a majority of the breeding habitats are man made.In western Kenya, the sib
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