Anopheles darlingi is the principal neotropical malaria vector, responsible for more than a million cases of malaria per year on the American continent. Anopheles darlingi diverged from the African and Asian malaria vectors ∼100 million years ago (mya) and successfully adapted to the New World environment. Here we present an annotated reference A. darlingi genome, sequenced from a wild population of males and females collected in the Brazilian Amazon. A total of 10 481 predicted protein-coding genes were annotated, 72% of which have their closest counterpart in Anopheles gambiae and 21% have highest similarity with other mosquito species. In spite of a long period of divergent evolution, conserved gene synteny was observed between A. darlingi and A. gambiae. More than 10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms and short indels with potential use as genetic markers were identified. Transposable elements correspond to 2.3% of the A. darlingi genome. Genes associated with hematophagy, immunity and insecticide resistance, directly involved in vector–human and vector–parasite interactions, were identified and discussed. This study represents the first effort to sequence the genome of a neotropical malaria vector, and opens a new window through which we can contemplate the evolutionary history of anopheline mosquitoes. It also provides valuable information that may lead to novel strategies to reduce malaria transmission on the South American continent. The A. darlingi genome is accessible at www.labinfo.lncc.br/index.php/anopheles-darlingi.
Human Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Transmission is a complex phenomenon involving biological and environmental factors of humans, parasites and mosquitoes. Among more than 500 anopheline species, only a few species from different branches of the mosquito evolutionary tree transmit malaria, suggesting that their vectorial capacity has evolved independently. Anopheles albimanus (subgenus Nyssorhynchus) is an important malaria vector in the Americas. The divergence time between Anopheles gambiae, the main malaria vector in Africa, and the Neotropical vectors has been estimated to be 100 My. To better understand the biological basis of malaria transmission and to develop novel and effective means of vector control, there is a need to explore the mosquito biology beyond the An. gambiae complex.
We sequenced the transcriptome of the An. albimanus adult female. By combining Sanger, 454 and Illumina sequences from cDNA libraries derived from the midgut, cuticular fat body, dorsal vessel, salivary gland and whole body, we generated a single, high-quality assembly containing 16,669 transcripts, 92% of which mapped to the An. darlingi genome and covered 90% of the core eukaryotic genome. Bidirectional comparisons between the An. gambiae, An. darlingi and An. albimanus predicted proteomes allowed the identification of 3,772 putative orthologs. More than half of the transcripts had a match to proteins in other insect vectors and had an InterPro annotation. We identified several protein families that may be relevant to the study of Plasmodium-mosquito interaction. An open source transcript annotation browser called GDAV (Genome-Delinked Annotation Viewer) was developed to facilitate public access to the data generated by this and future transcriptome projects.
We have explored the adult female transcriptome of one important New World malaria vector, An. albimanus. We identified protein-coding transcripts involved in biological processes that may be relevant to the Plasmodium lifecycle and can serve as the starting point for searching targets for novel control strategies. Our data increase the available genomic information regarding An. albimanus several hundred-fold, and will facilitate molecular research in medical entomology, evolutionary biology, genomics and proteomics of anopheline mosquito vectors. The data reported in this manuscript is accessible to the community via the VectorBase website (http://www.vectorbase.org/Other/AdditionalOrganisms/).
Anopheles albimanus; Transcriptome; Malaria; RNA-Seq
Malaria has a devastating impact on worldwide public health in many tropical areas. Studies on vector immunity are important for the overall understanding of the parasite-vector interaction and for the design of novel strategies to control malaria. A member of the fibrinogen-related protein family, fbn9, has been well studied in Anopheles gambiae and has been shown to be an important component of the mosquito immune system. However, little is known about this gene in neotropical anopheline species.
This article describes the identification and characterization of the fbn9 gene partial sequences from four species of neotropical anopheline primary and secondary vectors: Anopheles darlingi, Anopheles nuneztovari, Anopheles aquasalis, and Anopheles albitarsis (namely Anopheles marajoara). Degenerate primers were designed based on comparative analysis of publicly available Aedes aegypti and An. gambiae gene sequences and used to clone putative homologs in the neotropical species. Sequence comparisons and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses were then performed to better understand the molecular diversity of this gene in evolutionary distant anopheline species, belonging to different subgenera.
Comparisons of the fbn9 gene sequences of the neotropical anophelines and their homologs in the An. gambiae complex (Gambiae complex) showed high conservation at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, although some sites show significant differentiation (non-synonymous substitutions). Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis of fbn9 nucleotide sequences showed that neotropical anophelines and African mosquitoes form two well-supported clades, mirroring their separation into two different subgenera.
The present work adds new insights into the conserved role of fbn9 in insect immunity in a broader range of anopheline species and reinforces the possibility of manipulating mosquito immunity to design novel pathogen control strategies.
The complete sequences of the mitochondrial genomes (mtDNA) of members of the northern and southern genotypes of Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) darlingi were used for comparative studies to estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor for modern anophelines, to evaluate differentiation within this taxon, and to seek evidence of incipient speciation.
The mtDNAs were sequenced from mosquitoes from Belize and Brazil and comparative analyses of structure and base composition, among others, were performed. A maximum likelihood approach linked with phylogenetic information was employed to detect evidence of selection and a Bayesian approach was used to date the split between the subgenus Nyssorhynchus and other Anopheles subgenera.
The comparison of mtDNA sequences within the Anopheles darlingi taxon does not provide sufficient resolution to establish different units of speciation within the species. In addition, no evidence of positive selection in any protein-coding gene of the mtDNA was detected, and purifying selection likely is the basis for this lack of diversity. Bayesian analysis supports the conclusion that the most recent ancestor of Nyssorhynchus and Anopheles+Cellia was extant ~94 million years ago.
Analyses of mtDNA genomes of Anopheles darlingi do not provide support for speciation in the taxon. The dates estimated for divergence among the anopheline groups tested is in agreement with the geological split of western Gondwana (95 mya), and provides additional support for explaining the absence of Cellia in the New World, and Nyssorhynchus in the Afro-Eurasian continents.
Anopheles darlingi is the major malaria vector in countries located in the Amazon region. Anopheles aquasalis and Anopheles albitarsis s.l. are also proven vectors in this region. Anopheles nuneztovari s.l. and Anopheles triannulatus s.l. were found infected with Plasmodium vivax; however, their status as vectors is not yet well defined. Knowledge of susceptibility of Amazon anopheline populations to Plasmodium infection is necessary to better understand their vector capacity. Laboratory colonization of An. darlingi, the main Amazon vector, has proven to be difficult and presently An. aquasalis is the only available autonomous colony.
Larvae of An. darlingi, An. albitarsis s.l., An. nuneztovari s.l. and An. triannulatus s.l. were collected in the field and reared until adult stage. Adults of An. aquasalis were obtained from a well-established colony. Mosquitoes were blood-fed using a membrane-feeding device containing infected blood from malarial patients.
The infection of the distinct Anopheles species was evaluated by the impact variance of the following parameters: (a) parasitaemia density; (b) blood serum inactivation of the infective bloodmeal; (c) influence of gametocyte number on infection rates and number of oocysts. The goal of this work was to compare the susceptibility to P. vivax of four field-collected Anopheles species with colonized An. aquasalis.
All Anopheles species tested were susceptible to P. vivax infection, nevertheless the proportion of infected mosquitoes and the infection intensity measured by oocyst number varied significantly among species. Inactivation of the blood serum prior to mosquito feeding increased infection rates in An. darlingi and An. triannulatus s.l., but was diminished in An. albitarsis s.l. and An. aquasalis. There was a positive correlation between gametocyte density and the infection rate in all tests (Z = −8.37; p < 0.001) but varied among the mosquito species. Anopheles albitarsis s.l., An. aquasalis and An. nuneztovari s.l. had higher infection rates than An. darlingi.
All field-collected Anopheles species, as well as colonized An. aquasalis are susceptible to experimental P. vivax infections by membrane feeding assays. Anopheles darlingi, An. albitarsis s.l. and An. aquasalis are very susceptible to P. vivax infection. However, colonized An. aquasalis mosquitoes showed the higher infection intensity represented by infection rate and oocyst numbers. This study is the first to characterize experimental development of Plasmodium infections in Amazon Anopheles vectors and also to endorse that P. vivax infection of colonized An. aquasalis is a feasible laboratory model.
Plasmodium vivax; Anopheles; Malaria; Membrane feeding assay; Infection rate; Oocysts
A longitudinal study of malaria vectors was carried out in three villages in Suriname between 2006 and 2010. During 13,392 man hours of collections, 3,180 mosquitoes were collected, of which 33.7% were anophelines. Of these, Anopheles darlingi accounted for 88.1%, and An. nuneztovari accounted for 11.1%. The highest mean An. darlingi human biting rate (HBR) observed per survey was 1.43 bites/man per hour outdoor and 1.09 bites/man per hour indoor; 2 An. darlingi of the 683 tested were infected with Plasmodium falciparum. The anopheline HBR decreased to zero after the onset of malaria intervention activities, including insecticide-treated net (ITN) distribution, in 2006. Malaria transmission decreased to pre-elimination levels. It is concluded that the combination of ITN and climatic events has led to the collapse of malaria vector populations in the study sites in the interior of the country. The results are discussed in relation to the stability of malaria transmission in areas with low-density human populations.
Saliva of adult female mosquitoes help sugar and blood feeding by providing enzymes and polypeptides that help sugar digestion, control microbial growth and counteract their vertebrate host hemostasis and inflammation. Mosquito saliva also potentiates the transmission of vector borne pathogens, including arboviruses. Culex tarsalis is a bird feeding mosquito vector of West Nile Virus closely related to C. quinquefasciatus, a mosquito relatively recently adapted to feed on humans, and the only mosquito of the genus Culex to have its sialotranscriptome so far described.
A total of 1,753 clones randomly selected from an adult female C. tarsalis salivary glands (SG) cDNA library were sequenced and used to assemble a database that yielded 809 clusters of related sequences, 675 of which were singletons. Primer extension experiments were performed in selected clones to further extend sequence coverage, allowing for the identification of 283 protein sequences, 80 of which code for putative secreted proteins.
Comparison of the C. tarsalis sialotranscriptome with that of C. quinquefasciatus reveals accelerated evolution of salivary proteins as compared to housekeeping proteins. The average amino acid identity among salivary proteins is 70.1%, while that for housekeeping proteins is 91.2% (P < 0.05), and the codon volatility of secreted proteins is significantly higher than those of housekeeping proteins. Several protein families previously found exclusive of mosquitoes, including only in the Aedes genus have been identified in C. tarsalis. Interestingly, a protein family so far unique to C. quinquefasciatus, with 30 genes, is also found in C. tarsalis, indicating it was not a specific C. quinquefasciatus acquisition in its evolution to optimize mammal blood feeding.
New photomap of Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) darlingi Root, 1926, is described for a population from Guajará-Mirim, State of Rondonia, Brazil. The number of sections in the previous A. darlingi reference map was maintained and new subsections were added to the five chromosome arms. Breakage points of paracentric inversions had been previously incorporated into the photomap of this species. An additional inversion is reported, called 3Lc, totaling 14 inversions in the A. darlingi chromosome arms. The proposed photomap is potentially useful for further evolutionary studies in addition to physical and in silico chromosome mapping using A. darlingi genomic and transcriptome sequences. Furthermore, in our attempt to compare sections of the 2R chromosome arm of A. darlingi with Anopheles funestus, Anopheles stephensi, and Anopheles gambiae, we found great differences in the arrangement of the polytene chromosome bands, which are consistent with the known phylogenetic divergence of these species.
Despite governmental and private efforts on providing malaria control, this disease continues to be a major health threat. Thus, innovative strategies are needed to reduce disease burden. The malaria vectors, through the injection of saliva into the host skin, play important role on disease transmission and may influence malaria morbidity. This study describes the humoral immune response against Anopheles (An.) darlingi saliva in volunteers from the Brazilian Amazon and addresses the association between levels of specific antibodies and clinical presentation of Plasmodium (P.) vivax infection.
Adult volunteers from communities in the Rondônia State, Brazil, were screened in order to assess the presence of P. vivax infection by light microscopy and nested PCR. Non-infected volunteers and individuals with symptomatic or symptomless infection were randomly selected and plasma collected. An. darlingi salivary gland sonicates (SGS) were prepared and used to measure anti-saliva antibody levels. Plasma interleukin (IL)-10 and interferon (IFN)-γ levels were also estimated and correlated to anti-SGS levels.
Individuals infected with P. vivax presented higher levels of anti-SGS than non-infected individuals and antibody levels could discriminate infection. Furthermore, anti-saliva antibody measurement was also useful to distinguish asymptomatic infection from non-infection, with a high likelihood ratio. Interestingly, individuals with asymptomatic parasitaemia presented higher titers of anti-SGS and lower IFN-γ/IL-10 ratio than symptomatic ones. In P. vivax-infected asymptomatic individuals, the IFN-γ/IL-10 ratio was inversely correlated to anti-SGS titers, although not for while in symptomatic volunteers.
The estimation of anti-An. darlingi antibody levels can indicate the probable P. vivax infection status and also could serve as a marker of disease severity in this region of Brazilian Amazon.
Mosquito saliva carries a large number of factors with anti-hemostatic, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory activities. The cE5 protein was initially identified during an Anopheles gambiae salivary gland transcriptome study and later shown to share sequence similarity with anophelin, a thrombin inhibitor from the saliva of the New World mosquito Anopheles albimanus. The cE5 gene was found to encode different mRNA isoforms coexisting in several tissues of both male and female mosquitoes, a highly unusual profile for a gene potentially encoding an anti-thrombin and involved in blood feeding. Expression of the cE5 protein and assessment of its activity and inhibitory properties showed that it is a highly specific and tight-binding thrombin inhibitor, which differs from the An. albimanus orthologue for the fast-binding kinetics. Despite the widespread occurrence of cE5 transcripts in different mosquito tissues the corresponding protein was only found in female salivary glands, where it undergoes post-translational modification. Therefore, tissue-specific restriction of the An. gambiae cE5 is not achieved by transcriptional control, as common for mosquito salivary genes involved in hematophagy, but by post-trascriptional gene regulatory mechanisms. Our observations provide a paradigm of post-transcriptional regulation as key determinant of tissue specificity for a protein from an important disease vector and point out that transcriptomic data should be interpreted with caution in the absence of concomitant proteomic support.
Anopheles; salivary protein; anti-thrombin; anophelin; hematophagy; post-transcriptional regulation
The Anopheles gambiae salivary gland protein 6 (gSG6) is a small protein specifically found in the salivary glands of adult female mosquitoes. We report here the expression of a recombinant form of the protein and we show that in vivo gSG6 is expressed in distal-lateral lobes and is secreted with the saliva while the female mosquito probes for feeding. Injection of gSG6 dsRNA into adult An. gambiae females results in decreased gSG6 protein levels, increased probing time and reduced blood feeding ability. gSG6 orthologs have been found so far only in the salivary glands of Anopheles stephensi and Anopheles funestus, both members of the Cellia subgenus. We report here the gSG6 sequence from five additional anophelines, four species of the An. gambiae complex and Anopheles freeborni, a member of the subgenus Anopheles. We conclude that gSG6 plays some essential blood feeding role and was recruited in the anopheline subfamily most probably after the separation of the lineage which gave origin to Cellia and Anopheles subgenera.
Anopheles gambiae; gSG6; salivary glands; saliva; blood feeding
An understanding of the taxonomic status and vector distribution of anophelines is crucial to malaria control efforts. Previous phylogenetic analyses have supported the description of six species of the Neotropical malaria vector Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) albitarsis s.l. (Diptera: Culicidae): Anopheles albitarsis, An. deaneorum, An. marajoara, An. oryzalimnetes, An. janconnae and An. albitarsis F. To evaluate the taxonomic status of An. albitarsis s.l. mosquitoes collected in various localities of the Colombian Caribbean region, specimens were analyzed using the complete mtDNA Cytochrome Oxidase I (COI) gene, the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region and partial nuclear DNA White gene sequences. Phylogenetic analyses of the COI sequences detected a new lineage near An. janconnae in the Caribbean region of Colombia and determined its position relative to the other members of the complex. However, the ITS2 and White gene sequences lacked resolution to support a new lineage near An. janconnae or the An. janconnae clade. Nothing is known about the possible involvement in malaria transmission in Colombia of this new lineage, but its phylogenetic closeness to Anopheles janconnae, which has been incriminated in local malaria transmission in Brazil, is provocative.
Colombia; Albitarsis Complex; a new lineage near Anopheles janconnae; malaria; COI; White gene; ITS2
All adult mosquitoes take sugar meals, and most adult females also take blood meals to develop eggs. Salivary glands (SG) of males are thus much smaller and do not contain many of the antihemostatic and antiinflammatory compounds found in females. In the past 5 years, transcriptome analyses have identified nearly 70 different genes expressed in adult female SG. For most of these, no function can be assigned in either blood or sugar feeding. Exceptionally, Toxorhynchites mosquitoes are unusual in that they never feed on blood, and the SG of adults are identical in both sexes. Transcriptome analysis of the adult SG of this mosquito was performed to increase knowledge of the evolution of blood feeding—and to identify polypeptide families associated with sugar feeding—in mosquitoes.
Salivary glands; Transcriptome; Mosquito; Hematophagy
Malaria is a serious health problem in Córdoba and Antioquia states in northwestern Colombia, where 64.4% of the total Colombian cases were reported in 2007. Because little entomological information is available in this region, the aim of this work was to identify the Anopheles species composition and natural infectivity of mosquitoes distributed in seven localities with the highest malaria transmission. A total of 1,768 Anopheles mosquitoes were collected using human landing catches from March 2007 to July 2008. Ten species were identified; overall, An. nuneztovari s.l. was the most widespread (62%) and showed the highest average human biting rates. There were six other species of the Nyssorhynchus subgenus: An. albimanus (11.6%), An. darlingi (9.8%), An. braziliensis (6.6%), An. triannulatus s.l. (3.5%), An. albitarsis s.l. and An. oswaldoi s.l. at <1%; and three of the Anopheles subgenus: An. punctimacula, An. pseudopunctipennis s.l. and An. neomaculipalpus at <1% each. Two species from Córdoba, An. nuneztovari and An. darlingi, were detected naturally infected by Plasmodium vivax VK247 using ELISA and confirmed by nested PCR. All species were active indoors and outdoors. These results provide basic information for targeted vector control strategies in these localities.
Malaria; Anopheles; biting activity; natural infectivity; northwestern Colombia
No effective tool currently exists for trapping ovipositing malaria vectors. This creates a gap in our ability to investigate the behavior and ecology of gravid Anopheles.
Here we describe a simple trap that collects ovipositing Anopheline and Culicine mosquitoes. It consists of an acetate sheet coated in glue that floats on the water surface. Ten breeding sites were selected in rural Tanzania and 10 sticky traps set in each. These caught a total of 74 gravid Anopheles (54 An. arabiensis, 1 An. gambiae s.s. and 16 unamplified) and 1333 gravid Culicines, in just two trap nights. This simple sampling tool provides an opportunity to further our understanding of the behavior and ecology of gravid female Anophelines. It strongly implies that at least two of the major vectors of malaria in Africa land on the water surface during the oviposition process, and demonstrates that Anophelines and Culicines often share the same breeding sites.
This simple and efficient trap has clear potential for the study of oviposition site choice and productivity, gravid dispersal, and vector control techniques which use oviposition behavior as a means of disseminating larvicides.
Malaria transmission occurs during the blood feeding of infected anopheline mosquitoes concomitant with a saliva injection into the vertebrate host. In sub-Saharan Africa, most malaria transmission is due to Anopheles funestus s.s and to Anopheles gambiae s.l. (mainly Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Anopheles arabiensis). Several studies have demonstrated that the immune response against salivary antigens could be used to evaluate individual exposure to mosquito bites. The aim of this study was to assess the use of secreted salivary proteins as specific biomarkers of exposure to An. gambiae and/or An. funestus bites.
For this purpose, salivary gland proteins 6 (SG6) and 5′nucleotidases (5′nuc) from An. gambiae (gSG6 and g-5′nuc) and An. funestus (fSG6 and f-5′nuc) were selected and produced in recombinant form. The specificity of the IgG response against these salivary proteins was tested using an ELISA with sera from individuals living in three Senegalese villages (NDiop, n = 50; Dielmo, n = 38; and Diama, n = 46) that had been exposed to distinct densities and proportions of the Anopheles species. Individuals who had not been exposed to these tropical mosquitoes were used as controls (Marseille, n = 45).
The IgG responses against SG6 recombinant proteins from these two Anopheles species and against g-5′nucleotidase from An. gambiae, were significantly higher in Senegalese individuals compared with controls who were not exposed to specific Anopheles species. Conversely, an association was observed between the level of An. funestus exposure and the serological immune response levels against the f-5′nucleotidase protein.
This study revealed an Anopheles salivary antigenic protein that could be considered to be a promising antigenic marker to distinguish malaria vector exposure at the species level. The epidemiological interest of such species-specific antigenic markers is discussed.
Anopheles gambiae; Anopheles funestus; Antigenic salivary proteins; SG6; 5′nucleotidase; Exposure biomarkers; Epidemiology
Antibody responses against Anopheles salivary proteins can indicate individual exposure to bites of malaria vectors. The extent to which these salivary proteins are species-specific is not entirely resolved. Thus, a better knowledge of the diversity among salivary protein repertoires from various malaria vector species is necessary to select relevant genus-, subgenus- and/or species-specific salivary antigens. Such antigens could be used for quantitative (mosquito density) and qualitative (mosquito species) immunological evaluation of malaria vectors/host contact. In this study, salivary gland protein repertoires (sialomes) from several Anopheles species were compared using in silico analysis and proteomics. The antigenic diversity of salivary gland proteins among different Anopheles species was also examined.
In silico analysis of secreted salivary gland protein sequences retrieved from an NCBInr database of six Anopheles species belonging to the Cellia subgenus (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. funestus) and Nyssorhynchus subgenus (An. albimanus and An. darlingi) displayed a higher degree of similarity compared to salivary proteins from closely related Anopheles species. Additionally, computational hierarchical clustering allowed identification of genus-, subgenus- and species-specific salivary proteins. Proteomic and immunoblot analyses performed on salivary gland extracts from four Anopheles species (An. gambiae, An. arabiensis, An. stephensi and An. albimanus) indicated that heterogeneity of the salivary proteome and antigenic proteins was lower among closely related anopheline species and increased with phylogenetic distance.
This is the first report on the diversity of the salivary protein repertoire among species from the Anopheles genus at the protein level. This work demonstrates that a molecular diversity is exhibited among salivary proteins from closely related species despite their common pharmacological activities. The involvement of these proteins as antigenic candidates for genus-, subgenus- or species-specific immunological evaluation of individual exposure to Anopheles bites is discussed.
Anopheles; Salivary proteins; Sequence alignment; Biomarkers; Malaria vectors; Protein diversity
Based on recent studies in Israel demonstrating that attractive toxic sugar bait (ATSB) methods can be used to decimate local anopheline and culicine mosquito populations, an important consideration is whether the same methods can be adapted and improved to attract and kill malaria vectors in Africa. The ATSB approach uses fruit or flower scent as an attractant, sugar solution as a feeding stimulant, and an oral toxin. The ATSB solutions are either sprayed on vegetation or suspended in simple bait stations, and the mosquitoes ingesting the toxic solutions are killed. As such, this approach targets sugar-feeding female and male mosquitoes. This study examines the attractiveness of African malaria vectors to local fruits/seedpods and flowering plants, key biological elements of the ATSB approach for mosquito control.
Three field experiments were conducted at sites in Mali. The attraction of Anopheles gambiae s.l. to 26 different local fruits and seedpods was determined at a site in the semi-arid Bandiagara District of Mali. Wire mesh glue traps with fruits/seedpods suspended on skewers inside were set along a seasonal lagoon. Seven replicates of each fruit/seedpod species were tested, with a water-soaked sponge and a sugar-soaked sponge as controls. The attraction of An. gambiae s.l. to 26 different types of flowering plants was determined at a site near Mopti in Mali. The flowering plants held in a water-filled buried container were tested using the same glue traps, with controls including water only and sugar solution. Six replicates of each selected plant type were tested on transects between rice paddies. Additional studies using CDC light traps were done to determine the relative densities and periodicity of An. gambiae s.l. attraction to branches of the most highly attractive flowering plant, branches without flowers, human odor, and candescent light.
Of the 26 fruits and seedpods tested, 6 were attractive to An. gambiae s.l. females and males, respectively. Guava (Psidium guajava) and honey melon (Cucumis melo) were the two most attractive fruits for both females and males. Of the 26 flowering plants tested, 9 were significantly attractive for females, and 8 were attractive for males. Acacia macrostachya was the most attractive flowering plant. Periodicity studies using this plant showed peaks of An. gambiae s.l. attraction between 1930 and 2200 h and 0400-0500 h, which differed considerably from the response to human odors, which expectedly peaked at around midnight.
These field experiments in Mali highlight that female and male An. gambiae s.l. have pronounced differences in attraction for diverse types of indigenous fruits/seedpods and flowering plants. The identification of attractive fruits and seedpods shows that a variety of indigenous and locally abundant natural products could potentially be used as juices to make ATSB solution for mosquito control. As well, the simple methods used to identify the most attractive flowering plants provide valuable insights into the natural history of sugar feeding for An. gambiae s.l. These observations can be used to guide future strategies for employing ATSB methods for malaria vector control in Africa. They also provide a basis for subsequent chemical analysis and development of attractive baits for mosquito control.
Anopheles funestus, together with Anopheles gambiae, is responsible for most malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about molecular aspects of its biology. To investigate the salivary repertoire of this mosquito, we randomly sequenced 916 clones from a salivary-gland cDNA library from adult female F1 offspring of field-caught An. funestus. Thirty-three protein sequences, mostly full-length transcripts, are predicted to be secreted salivary proteins. We additionally describe 25 full-length housekeeping-associated transcripts. In accumulating mosquito sialotranscriptome information—which includes An. gambiae, Anopheles stephensi, Anopheles darlingi, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus, and now An. funestus—a pattern is emerging. First, ubiquitous protein families are recruited for a salivary role, such as members of the antigen-5 family and enzymes of nucleotide and carbohydrate catabolism. Second, a group of protein families exclusive to blood-feeding Nematocera includes the abundantly expressed D7 proteins also found in sand flies and Culicoides. A third group of proteins, only found in Culicidae, includes the 30-kDa allergen family and several mucins. Finally, ten protein and peptide families, five of them multigenic, are exclusive to anophelines. Among these proteins may reside good epidemiological markers to measure human exposure to anopheline species such as An. funestus and An. gambiae.
Malaria; Hematophagy; Salivary glands; Vector; Saliva
A large focus of human infections with Plasmodium knowlesi, a simian parasite naturally found in long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques was discovered in the Kapit Division of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. A study was initiated to identify the vectors of malaria, to elucidate where transmission is taking place and to understand the bionomics of the vectors in Kapit.
Three different ecological sites in the forest, farm and longhouse in the Kapit district were selected for the study. Mosquitoes were collected by human landing collection at all sites and at the forest also by monkey-baited-traps situated on three different levels. All mosquitoes were identified and salivary glands and midguts of anopheline mosquitoes were dissected to determine the presence of malaria parasites.
Results and Discussions
Over an 11-month period, a total of 2,504 Anopheles mosquitoes comprising 12 species were caught; 1,035 at the farm, 774 at the forest and 425 at the longhouse. Anopheles latens (62.3%) and Anopheles watsonii (30.6%) were the predominant species caught in the forested ecotypes, while in the farm Anopheles donaldi (49.9%) and An. latens (35.6%) predominated. In the long house, An. latens (29.6%) and An. donaldi (22.8%) were the major Anopheline species. However, An. latens was the only mosquito positive for sporozoites and it was found to be attracted to both human and monkey hosts. In monkey-baited net traps, it preferred to bite monkeys at the canopy level than at ground level. An. latens was found biting early as 18.00 hours.
Anopheles latens is the main vector for P. knowlesi malaria parasites in the Kapit District of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. The study underscores the relationship between ecology, abundance and bionomics of anopheline fauna. The simio-anthropophagic and acrodendrophilic behaviour of An. latens makes it an efficient vector for the transmission of P. knowlesi parasites to both human and monkey hosts.
Malaria is a tropical disease caused by protozoan parasite, Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans by various species of female anopheline mosquitoes. Anopheles stephensi is one such major malaria vector in urban parts of the Indian subcontinent. Unlike Anopheles gambiae, an African malaria vector, transcriptome of A. stephensi midgut tissue is less explored. We have therefore carried out generation, annotation, and analysis of expressed sequence tags from sugar-fed and Plasmodium yoelii infected blood-fed (post 24 h) adult female A. stephensi midgut tissue.
We obtained 7061 and 8306 ESTs from the sugar-fed and P. yoelii infected mosquito midgut tissue libraries, respectively. ESTs from the combined dataset formed 1319 contigs and 2627 singlets, totaling to 3946 unique transcripts. Putative functions were assigned to 1615 (40.9%) transcripts using BLASTX against UniProtKB database. Amongst unannotated transcripts, we identified 1513 putative novel transcripts and 818 potential untranslated regions (UTRs). Statistical comparison of annotated and unannotated ESTs from the two libraries identified 119 differentially regulated genes. Out of 3946 unique transcripts, only 1387 transcripts were mapped on the A. gambiae genome. These also included 189 novel transcripts, which were mapped to the unannotated regions of the genome. The EST data is available as ESTDB at .
3946 unique transcripts were successfully identified from the adult female A. stephensi midgut tissue. These data can be used for microarray development for better understanding of vector-parasite relationship and to study differences or similarities with other malaria vectors. Mapping of putative novel transcripts from A. stephensi on the A. gambiae genome proved fruitful in identification and annotation of several genes. Failure of some novel transcripts to map on the A. gambiae genome indicates existence of substantial genomic dissimilarities between these two potent malaria vectors.
The Anopheles gambiae gSG6 is an anopheline-specific salivary protein which helps female mosquitoes to efficiently feed on blood. Besides its role in haematophagy, gSG6 is immunogenic and elicits in exposed individuals an IgG response, which may be used as indicator of exposure to the main African malaria vector A. gambiae. However, malaria transmission in tropical Africa is sustained by three main vectors (A. gambiae, Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles funestus) and a general marker, reflecting exposure to at least these three species, would be especially valuable. The SG6 protein is highly conserved within the A. gambiae species complex whereas the A. funestus homologue, fSG6, is more divergent (80% identity with gSG6). The aim of this study was to evaluate cross-reactivity of human sera to gSG6 and fSG6.
The A. funestus SG6 protein was expressed/purified and the humoral response to gSG6, fSG6 and a combination of the two antigens was compared in a population from a malaria hyperendemic area of Burkina Faso where both vectors were present, although with a large A. gambiae prevalence (>75%). Sera collected at the beginning and at the end of the high transmission/rainy season, as well as during the following low transmission/dry season, were analysed.
According to previous observations, both anti-SG6 IgG level and prevalence decreased during the low transmission/dry season and showed a typical age-dependent pattern. No significant difference in the response to the two antigens was found, although their combined use yielded in most cases higher IgG level.
Comparative analysis of gSG6 and fSG6 immunogenicity to humans suggests the occurrence of a wide cross-reactivity, even though the two proteins carry species-specific epitopes. This study supports the use of gSG6 as reliable indicator of exposure to the three main African malaria vectors, a marker which may be useful to monitor malaria transmission and evaluate vector control measures, especially in conditions of low malaria transmission and/or reduced vector density. The Anopheles stephensi SG6 protein also shares 80% identity with gSG6, suggesting the attractive possibility that the A. gambiae protein may also be useful to assess human exposure to several Asian malaria vectors.
Malaria morbidity and mortality caused by both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax extend well beyond the African continent, and although P. vivax causes between 80 and 300 million severe cases each year, vivax transmission remains poorly understood. Plasmodium parasites are transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes, and the critical site of interaction between parasite and host is at the mosquito's luminal midgut brush border. Although the genome of the “model” African P. falciparum vector, Anopheles gambiae, has been sequenced, evolutionary divergence limits its utility as a reference across anophelines, especially non-sequenced P. vivax vectors such as Anopheles albimanus. Clearly, technologies and platforms that bridge this substantial scientific gap are required in order to provide public health scientists with key transcriptomic and proteomic information that could spur the development of novel interventions to combat this disease. To our knowledge, no approaches have been published that address this issue. To bolster our understanding of P. vivax–An. albimanus midgut interactions, we developed an integrated bioinformatic-hybrid RNA-Seq-LC-MS/MS approach involving An. albimanus transcriptome (15,764 contigs) and luminal midgut subproteome (9,445 proteins) assembly, which, when used with our custom Diptera protein database (685,078 sequences), facilitated a comparative proteomic analysis of the midgut brush borders of two important malaria vectors, An. gambiae and An. albimanus.
Saliva of hematophagous arthropods contains a diverse mixture of compounds that counteracts host hemostasis. Immunomodulatory and antiinflammatory components are also found in these organisms' saliva. Blood feeding evolved at least ten times within arthropods, providing a scenario of convergent evolution for the solution of the salivary potion. Perhaps because of immune pressure from hosts, the salivary proteins of related organisms have considerable divergence, and new protein families are often found within different genera of the same family or even among subgenera. Fleas radiated with their vertebrate hosts, including within the mammal expansion initiated 65 million years ago. Currently, only one flea species–the rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis–has been investigated by means of salivary transcriptome analysis to reveal salivary constituents, or sialome. We present the analysis of the sialome of cat flea Ctenocephaides felis.
Methodology and Critical Findings
A salivary gland cDNA library from adult fleas was randomly sequenced, assembled, and annotated. Sialomes of cat and rat fleas have in common the enzyme families of phosphatases (inactive), CD-39-type apyrase, adenosine deaminases, and esterases. Antigen-5 members are also common to both sialomes, as are defensins. FS-I/Cys7 and the 8-Cys families of peptides are also shared by both fleas and are unique to these organisms. The Gly-His-rich peptide similar to holotricin was found only in the cat flea, as were the abundantly expressed Cys-less peptide and a novel short peptide family.
Fleas, in contrast to bloodsucking Nematocera (mosquitoes, sand flies, and black flies), appear to concentrate a good portion of their sialome in small polypeptides, none of which have a known function but could act as inhibitors of hemostasis or inflammation. They are also unique in expansion of a phosphatase family that appears to be deficient of enzyme activity and has an unknown function.
Anopheles gambiae Giles is the most important vector of human malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Knowledge of the factors that influence its daily oviposition pattern is crucial if field interventions targeting gravid females are to be successful. This laboratory study investigated the effect of oviposition substrate and time of blood feeding on daily oviposition patterns of An. gambiae mosquitoes.
Greenhouse-reared gravid and hypergravid (delayed oviposition onset) An. gambiae sensu stricto and wild-caught An. gambiae sensu lato were exposed to three types of substrates in choice and no-choice cage bioassays: water from a predominantly anopheline colonised ground pool (anopheline habitat water), swamp water mainly colonised by culicine larvae (culicine habitat water) and distilled water. The daily oviposition pattern and the number of eggs oviposited on each substrate during the entire egg-laying period were determined. The results were subjected to analysis of variance using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedure.
The main oviposition time for greenhouse-reared An. gambiae s.s. was between 19:00 and 20:00 hrs, approximately one hour after sunset. Wild-caught gravid An. gambiae s.l. displayed two distinct peak oviposition times between 19:00 and 20:00 hrs and between 22:00 and 23:00 hrs, respectively. During these times, both greenhouse-reared and wild-caught mosquitoes significantly (P < 0.05) preferred anopheline habitat water to the culicine one. Peak oviposition activity was not delayed when the mosquitoes were exposed to the less preferred oviposition substrate (culicine habitat water). However, culicine water influenced negatively (P < 0.05) not only the number of eggs oviposited by the mosquitoes during peak oviposition time but also the overall number of gravid mosquitoes that laid their eggs on it. The differences in mosquito feeding times did not affect the daily oviposition patterns displayed.
This study shows that the peak oviposition time of An. gambiae s.l. may be regulated by the light-dark cycle rather than oviposition habitat characteristics or feeding times. However, the number of eggs laid by the female mosquito during the peak oviposition time is affected by the suitability of the habitat.