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1.  Transcriptome of the adult female malaria mosquito vector Anopheles albimanus 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:207.
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 (
PMCID: PMC3442982  PMID: 22646700
Anopheles albimanus; Transcriptome; Malaria; RNA-Seq
2.  Complete mtDNA genomes of Anopheles darlingi and an approach to anopheline divergence time 
Malaria Journal  2010;9:127.
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.
PMCID: PMC2877063  PMID: 20470395
3.  The Genome of Anopheles darlingi, the main neotropical malaria vector 
Marinotti, Osvaldo | Cerqueira, Gustavo C. | de Almeida, Luiz Gonzaga Paula | Ferro, Maria Inês Tiraboschi | Loreto, Elgion Lucio da Silva | Zaha, Arnaldo | Teixeira, Santuza M. R. | Wespiser, Adam R. | Almeida e Silva, Alexandre | Schlindwein, Aline Daiane | Pacheco, Ana Carolina Landim | da Silva, Artur Luiz da Costa | Graveley, Brenton R. | Walenz, Brian P. | Lima, Bruna de Araujo | Ribeiro, Carlos Alexandre Gomes | Nunes-Silva, Carlos Gustavo | de Carvalho, Carlos Roberto | Soares, Célia Maria de Almeida | de Menezes, Claudia Beatriz Afonso | Matiolli, Cleverson | Caffrey, Daniel | Araújo, Demetrius Antonio M. | de Oliveira, Diana Magalhães | Golenbock, Douglas | Grisard, Edmundo Carlos | Fantinatti-Garboggini, Fabiana | de Carvalho, Fabíola Marques | Barcellos, Fernando Gomes | Prosdocimi, Francisco | May, Gemma | de Azevedo Junior, Gilson Martins | Guimarães, Giselle Moura | Goldman, Gustavo Henrique | Padilha, Itácio Q. M. | Batista, Jacqueline da Silva | Ferro, Jesus Aparecido | Ribeiro, José M. C. | Fietto, Juliana Lopes Rangel | Dabbas, Karina Maia | Cerdeira, Louise | Agnez-Lima, Lucymara Fassarella | Brocchi, Marcelo | de Carvalho, Marcos Oliveira | Teixeira, Marcus de Melo | Diniz Maia, Maria de Mascena | Goldman, Maria Helena S. | Cruz Schneider, Maria Paula | Felipe, Maria Sueli Soares | Hungria, Mariangela | Nicolás, Marisa Fabiana | Pereira, Maristela | Montes, Martín Alejandro | Cantão, Maurício E. | Vincentz, Michel | Rafael, Miriam Silva | Silverman, Neal | Stoco, Patrícia Hermes | Souza, Rangel Celso | Vicentini, Renato | Gazzinelli, Ricardo Tostes | Neves, Rogério de Oliveira | Silva, Rosane | Astolfi-Filho, Spartaco | Maciel, Talles Eduardo Ferreira | Ürményi, Turán P. | Tadei, Wanderli Pedro | Camargo, Erney Plessmann | de Vasconcelos, Ana Tereza Ribeiro
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(15):7387-7400.
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
PMCID: PMC3753621  PMID: 23761445
4.  Anopheles salivary gland proteomes from major malaria vectors 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:614.
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.
PMCID: PMC3542285  PMID: 23148599
Anopheles; Salivary proteins; Sequence alignment; Biomarkers; Malaria vectors; Protein diversity
5.  An insight into the sialome of Anopheles funestus reveals an emerging pattern in anopheline salivary protein families 
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.
PMCID: PMC1853278  PMID: 17244545
Malaria; Hematophagy; Salivary glands; Vector; Saliva
6.  The Anopheles gambiae salivary protein gSG6: an anopheline-specific protein with a blood-feeding role 
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.
PMCID: PMC3740408  PMID: 19442731
Anopheles gambiae; gSG6; salivary glands; saliva; blood feeding
7.  Identification of a fibrinogen-related protein (FBN9) gene in neotropical anopheline mosquitoes 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:21.
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.
PMCID: PMC3055219  PMID: 21288344
8.  Unravelling the relationships between Anopheles darlingi (Diptera: Culicidae) densities, environmental factors and malaria incidence: understanding the variable patterns of malarial transmission in French Guiana (South America) 
Anopheles darlingi, one of the main malaria vectors in the Neotropics, is widely distributed in French Guiana, where malaria remains a major public-health problem. Elucidation of the relationships between the population dynamics of An. darlingi and local environmental factors would appear to be an essential factor in the epidemiology of human malaria in French Guiana and the design of effective vector-control strategies. In a recent investigation, longitudinal entomological surveys were carried out for 2–4 years in one village in each of three distinct endemic areas of French Guiana. Anopheles darlingi was always the anopheline mosquito that was most frequently caught on human bait, although its relative abundance (as a proportion of all the anophelines collected) and human biting rate (in bites/person-year) differed with the study site. Seasonality in the abundance of human-landing An. darlingi (with peaks at the end of the rainy season) was observed in only two of the three study sites. Just three An. darlingi were found positive for Plasmodium (either P. falciparum or P. vivax) circumsporozoite protein, giving entomological inoculation rates of 0·0–8·7 infectious bites/person-year. Curiously, no infected An. darlingi were collected in the village with the highest incidence of human malaria. Relationships between malaria incidence, An. darlingi densities, rainfall and water levels in the nearest rivers were found to be variable and apparently dependent on land-cover specificities that reflected the diversity and availability of habitats suitable for the development and reproduction of An. darlingi.
PMCID: PMC4084657  PMID: 21396247
9.  Integrated vector management targeting Anopheles darlingi populations decreases malaria incidence in an unstable transmission area, in the rural Brazilian Amazon 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:351.
Studies on vector behaviour should be conducted in order to evaluate the effectiveness of vector control measures on malaria protection in endemic areas of Latin America, where P. vivax predominates. This work aims to investigate the fauna of anopheline mosquitoes and verify the impact of integrated vector management in two colonization projects in the Careiro Municipality, Western Brazilian Amazon.
Four mosquitoes’ captures were carried out from August 2008 to March 2010, with an interval of six months between each collection. Since September 2009 a large programme to reduce the burden of malaria has started in the two communities by distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) and intensification of indoor residual spraying (IRS). Human biting rates (HBRs), entomological inoculation rates (EIRs), malaria incidence rate (MIR) and Plasmodium carrier’s prevalence were used as outcomes to estimate the impact of the control measures.
A total of 3,189 anophelines were collected, belonging to 13 species. Anopheles darlingi was the predominant species in the period (42.6%), followed by Anopheles albitarsis (38.4%). An. darlingi HBRs showed a notable decreasing trend from the start to the end of the study. Conversely, An. albitarsis increased its contribution to overall HBRs throughout the study. For An. darlingi there was a significant positive correlation between HBRs and MIR (p = 0.002). Anopheles albitarsis HBRs showed a significant negative correlation with the corresponding MIR (p = 0.045). EIR from total anophelines and from An. darlingi and An. albitarsis presented decreasing patterns in the successive collections. Four species of anophelines (An. darlingi, An. albitarsis, Anopheles braziliensis and Anopheles nuneztovari) were naturally infected with Plasmodium, albeit at very low infection rates. There were a decrease in the MIR for both vivax and falciparum malaria and in the prevalence of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum carriers during the period of study.
There is strong evidence of association between the density of An. darlingi and the incidence of malaria in the studies sites, further highlighting the importance of this vector in malaria transmission in this region. An. darlingi susceptibility to control using ITN and IRS is likely to be high in the rural settlements studied.
PMCID: PMC3502175  PMID: 23088224
Malaria; Anopheles darlingi; Impregnated bed nets; Indoor residual spraying; Amazon
10.  Mosquito magnet® liberty plus trap baited with octenol confirmed best candidate for Anopheles surveillance and proved promising in predicting risk of malaria transmission in French Guiana 
Malaria Journal  2014;13(1):384.
In French Guiana, Mosquito Magnet® Liberty Plus trap baited with octenol (MMoct) has been proposed for sampling Anopheles darlingi after comparison with CDC light trap and Human landing catch (HLC). However, other available lures were not tested. The current study compared MMoct and MM baited with Lurex™ (MMlur) to HLC, and analysed entomological data from MMoct collection with malaria cases to facilitate malaria surveillance.
Two independent experiments were conducted during 2012 and 2013 in Saint-Georges town, French Guiana. The first experiment used Latin square design to compare MMoct and MMlur to HLC between 18:30 to 22:30 and 05:00 to 07:00. Parity rate was determined for An. darlingi from each sampling system. In the second experiment, a 24:00 hour collection was done for four consecutive days during the first week of each month and every four days for the rest of the month using MMoct. Portion of the 24 hour collection was dissected for parity rate. All anophelines were screened for Plasmodium infection by PCR. Data for number of malaria cases was analysed for association with density of An. darlingi.
In the first experiment, 3,721 anopheline mosquitoes were collected over 21 nights. Of these, 95.7% was identified morphologically to five species and An. darlingi contributed 98.4%, mainly from HLC (75.1%, CI 95% [73.2-77.0]) than MMoct (14.1%, CI 95% [12.6-15.7]) and MMlur (10.8%, CI 95% [9.4-12.2]). Species richness was highest in HLC meanwhile species diversity index was greatest in MMoct. MMoct collected more parous An. darlingi than HLC (p < 0.0001) and MMlur (p = 0.0021). The second experiment amounted to 2035 females, 60.8% belonging to 10 species. Anopheles darlingi constituted 85.0% of the species and had parity rate of 52.3%. Specimens were uninfected with Plasmodium. Density of An. darlingi best correlated with malaria cases observed six weeks later (p = 0.0016; r = 0.4774).
Though MMoct and MMlur performed well in sampling An. darlingi, MMoct captured more species and, therefore, would be useful for surveillance. Even if it collected mostly parous mosquitoes, MMoct proved useful in collecting entomological data required for predicting malaria emergence. It is a potential replacement for HLC.
PMCID: PMC4193128  PMID: 25260354
Anopheles darlingi; Mosquito Magnet® trap; Human landing catches; Entomological surveillance; Malaria; French Guiana
11.  A deep insight into the sialotranscriptome of the mosquito, Psorophora albipes 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:875.
Psorophora mosquitoes are exclusively found in the Americas and have been associated with transmission of encephalitis and West Nile fever viruses, among other arboviruses. Mosquito salivary glands represent the final route of differentiation and transmission of many parasites. They also secrete molecules with powerful pharmacologic actions that modulate host hemostasis, inflammation, and immune response. Here, we employed next generation sequencing and proteome approaches to investigate for the first time the salivary composition of a mosquito member of the Psorophora genus. We additionally discuss the evolutionary position of this mosquito genus into the Culicidae family by comparing the identity of its secreted salivary compounds to other mosquito salivary proteins identified so far.
Illumina sequencing resulted in 13,535,229 sequence reads, which were assembled into 3,247 contigs. All families were classified according to their in silico-predicted function/ activity. Annotation of these sequences allowed classification of their products into 83 salivary protein families, twenty (24.39%) of which were confirmed by our subsequent proteome analysis. Two protein families were deorphanized from Aedes and one from Ochlerotatus, while four protein families were described as novel to Psorophora genus because they had no match with any other known mosquito salivary sequence. Several protein families described as exclusive to Culicines were present in Psorophora mosquitoes, while we did not identify any member of the protein families already known as unique to Anophelines. Also, the Psorophora salivary proteins had better identity to homologs in Aedes (69.23%), followed by Ochlerotatus (8.15%), Culex (6.52%), and Anopheles (4.66%), respectively.
This is the first sialome (from the Greek sialo = saliva) catalog of salivary proteins from a Psorophora mosquito, which may be useful for better understanding the lifecycle of this mosquito and the role of its salivary secretion in arboviral transmission.
PMCID: PMC3878727  PMID: 24330624
12.  Experimental Plasmodium vivax infection of key Anopheles species from the Brazilian Amazon 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:460.
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.
PMCID: PMC3878095  PMID: 24359307
Plasmodium vivax; Anopheles; Malaria; Membrane feeding assay; Infection rate; Oocysts
13.  The Anopheles gambiae cE5, a tight- and fast-binding thrombin inhibitor with post-transcriptionally regulated salivary-restricted expression 
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.
PMCID: PMC3416949  PMID: 22617725
Anopheles; salivary protein; anti-thrombin; anophelin; hematophagy; post-transcriptional regulation
14.  Salivary Polytene Chromosome Map of Anopheles darlingi, the Main Vector of Neotropical Malaria 
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.
PMCID: PMC2911165  PMID: 20682862
15.  Transcriptome Sequencing and Developmental Regulation of Gene Expression in Anopheles aquasalis 
Anopheles aquasalis is a major malaria vector in coastal areas of South and Central America where it breeds preferentially in brackish water. This species is very susceptible to Plasmodium vivax and it has been already incriminated as responsible vector in malaria outbreaks. There has been no high-throughput investigation into the sequencing of An. aquasalis genes, transcripts and proteins despite its epidemiological relevance. Here we describe the sequencing, assembly and annotation of the An. aquasalis transcriptome.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 419 thousand cDNA sequence reads, encompassing 164 million nucleotides, were assembled in 7544 contigs of ≥2 sequences, and 1999 singletons. The majority of the An. aquasalis transcripts encode proteins with their closest counterparts in another neotropical malaria vector, An. darlingi. Several analyses in different protein databases were used to annotate and predict the putative functions of the deduced An. aquasalis proteins. Larval and adult-specific transcripts were represented by 121 and 424 contig sequences, respectively. Fifty-one transcripts were only detected in blood-fed females. The data also reveal a list of transcripts up- or down-regulated in adult females after a blood meal. Transcripts associated with immunity, signaling networks and blood feeding and digestion are discussed.
This study represents the first large-scale effort to sequence the transcriptome of An. aquasalis. It provides valuable information that will facilitate studies on the biology of this species and may lead to novel strategies to reduce malaria transmission on the South American continent. The An. aquasalis transcriptome is accessible at
Author Summary
The mosquito Anopheles aquasalis is responsible for transmitting malaria parasites to humans in South America coastal areas. An. aquasalis females transmit Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, the two major malaria etiological agents in these endemic sites. Although the vectorial importance of this mosquito has been demonstrated, molecular aspects of its biology have been poorly explored. In this study, we present the transcriptome of An. aquasalis using 454 sequencing followed by automated bioinformatic analyses. Our study identified and annotated more than 9,000 putative proteins based on homology, gene ontology, and/or biochemical pathways, including putative secretory proteins. The comparison of RNAs present in samples extracted from larvae, sugar fed adult females, or blood fed adult females, reveal gene expression regulation during mosquito development. The present dataset provides a useful resource and adds greatly to our understanding of a human malaria vector from developing countries.
PMCID: PMC4102416  PMID: 25033462
16.  Nightly biting cycles of malaria vectors in a heterogeneous transmission area of eastern Amazonian Brazil 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:262.
The biting cycle of anopheline mosquitoes is an important component in the transmission of malaria. Inter- and intraspecific biting patterns of anophelines have been investigated using the number of mosquitoes caught over time to compare general tendencies in host-seeking activity and cumulative catch. In this study, all-night biting catch data from 32 consecutive months of collections in three riverine villages were used to compare biting cycles of the five most abundant vector species using common statistics to quantify variability and deviations of nightly catches from a normal distribution.
Three communities were selected for study. All-night human landing catches of mosquitoes were made each month in the peridomestic environment of four houses (sites) for nine consecutive days from April 2003 to November 2005. Host-seeking activities of the five most abundant species that were previously captured infected with Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae or Plasmodium vivax, were analysed and compared by measuring the amount of variation in numbers biting per unit time (co-efficient of variation, V), the degree to which the numbers of individuals per unit time were asymmetrical (skewness = g1) and the relative peakedness or flatness of the distribution (kurtosis = g2). To analyse variation in V, g1, and g2 within species and villages, we used mixed model nested ANOVAs (PROC GLM in SAS) with independent variables (sources of variation): year, month (year), night (year X month) and collection site (year X month).
The biting cycles of the most abundant species, Anopheles darlingi, had the least pronounced biting peaks, the lowest mean V values, and typically non-significant departures from normality in g1 and g2. By contrast, the species with the most sharply defined crepuscular biting peaks, Anopheles marajoara, Anopheles nuneztovari and Anopheles triannulatus, showed high to moderate mean V values and, most commonly, significantly positive skewness (g1) and kurtosis (g2) moments. Anopheles intermedius was usually, but not always, crepuscular in host seeking, and showed moderate mean V values and typically positive skewness and kurtosis. Among sites within villages, significant differences in frequencies of departures from normality (g1 and g2) were detected for An. marajoara and An. darlingi, suggesting that local environments, such as host availability, may affect the shape of biting pattern curves of these two species.
Analyses of co-efficients of variation, skewness and kurtosis facilitated quantitative comparisons of host-seeking activity patterns that differ among species, sites, villages, and dates. The variable and heterogeneous nightly host-seeking behaviours of the five exophilic vector species contribute to the maintenance of stable malaria transmission in these Amazonian villages. The abundances of An. darlingi and An. marajoara, their propensities to seek hosts throughout the night, and their ability to adapt host-seeking behaviour to local environments, contribute to their impact as the most important of these vector species.
PMCID: PMC3729824  PMID: 23890413
Anopheles; Co-efficient of variation; Host-seeking activity; Kurtosis; Skewness
17.  Species composition and natural infectivity of anthropophilic Anopheles (Diptera: Culicidae) in Córdoba and Antioquia states in northwestern Colombia 
Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  2009;104(8):1117-1124.
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.
PMCID: PMC3066193  PMID: 20140372
Malaria; Anopheles; biting activity; natural infectivity; northwestern Colombia
18.  Is there an efficient trap or collection method for sampling Anopheles darlingi and other malaria vectors that can describe the essential parameters affecting transmission dynamics as effectively as human landing catches? - A Review 
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  2014;109(5):685-705.
Distribution, abundance, feeding behaviour, host preference, parity status and human-biting and infection rates are among the medical entomological parameters evaluated when determining the vector capacity of mosquito species. To evaluate these parameters, mosquitoes must be collected using an appropriate method. Malaria is primarily transmitted by anthropophilic and synanthropic anophelines. Thus, collection methods must result in the identification of the anthropophilic species and efficiently evaluate the parameters involved in malaria transmission dynamics. Consequently, human landing catches would be the most appropriate method if not for their inherent risk. The choice of alternative anopheline collection methods, such as traps, must consider their effectiveness in reproducing the efficiency of human attraction. Collection methods lure mosquitoes by using a mixture of olfactory, visual and thermal cues. Here, we reviewed, classified and compared the efficiency of anopheline collection methods, with an emphasis on Neotropical anthropophilic species, especially Anopheles darlingi, in distinct malaria epidemiological conditions in Brazil.
PMCID: PMC4156462  PMID: 25185008
Anopheles darling; malaria; collection; methods; traps
19.  Assessment of Anopheles salivary antigens as individual exposure biomarkers to species-specific malaria vector bites 
Malaria Journal  2012;11:439.
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.
PMCID: PMC3547717  PMID: 23276246
Anopheles gambiae; Anopheles funestus; Antigenic salivary proteins; SG6; 5′nucleotidase; Exposure biomarkers; Epidemiology
20.  Mass Spectrometry Based Proteomic Analysis of Salivary Glands of Urban Malaria Vector Anopheles stephensi 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:686319.
Salivary gland proteins of Anopheles mosquitoes offer attractive targets to understand interactions with sporozoites, blood feeding behavior, homeostasis, and immunological evaluation of malaria vectors and parasite interactions. To date limited studies have been carried out to elucidate salivary proteins of An. stephensi salivary glands. The aim of the present study was to provide detailed analytical attributives of functional salivary gland proteins of urban malaria vector An. stephensi. A proteomic approach combining one-dimensional electrophoresis (1DE), ion trap liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS), and computational bioinformatic analysis was adopted to provide the first direct insight into identification and functional characterization of known salivary proteins and novel salivary proteins of An. stephensi. Computational studies by online servers, namely, MASCOT and OMSSA algorithms, identified a total of 36 known salivary proteins and 123 novel proteins analysed by LC/MS/MS. This first report describes a baseline proteomic catalogue of 159 salivary proteins belonging to various categories of signal transduction, regulation of blood coagulation cascade, and various immune and energy pathways of An. stephensi sialotranscriptome by mass spectrometry. Our results may serve as basis to provide a putative functional role of proteins in concept of blood feeding, biting behavior, and other aspects of vector-parasite host interactions for parasite development in anopheline mosquitoes.
PMCID: PMC4122192  PMID: 25126571
21.  Analysis of the Salivary Gland Transcriptome of Frankliniella occidentalis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94447.
Saliva is known to play a crucial role in insect feeding behavior and virus transmission. Currently, little is known about the salivary glands and saliva of thrips, despite the fact that Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (the western flower thrips) is a serious pest due to its destructive feeding, wide host range, and transmission of tospoviruses. As a first step towards characterizing thrips salivary gland functions, we sequenced the transcriptome of the primary salivary glands of F. occidentalis using short read sequencing (Illumina) technology. A de novo-assembled transcriptome revealed 31,392 high quality contigs with an average size of 605 bp. A total of 12,166 contigs had significant BLASTx or tBLASTx hits (E≤1.0E−6) to known proteins, whereas a high percentage (61.24%) of contigs had no apparent protein or nucleotide hits. Comparison of the F. occidentalis salivary gland transcriptome (sialotranscriptome) against a published F. occidentalis full body transcriptome assembled from Roche-454 reads revealed several contigs with putative annotations associated with salivary gland functions. KEGG pathway analysis of the sialotranscriptome revealed that the majority (18 out of the top 20 predicted KEGG pathways) of the salivary gland contig sequences match proteins involved in metabolism. We identified several genes likely to be involved in detoxification and inhibition of plant defense responses including aldehyde dehydrogenase, metalloprotease, glucose oxidase, glucose dehydrogenase, and regucalcin. We also identified several genes that may play a role in the extra-oral digestion of plant structural tissues including β-glucosidase and pectin lyase; and the extra-oral digestion of sugars, including α-amylase, maltase, sucrase, and α-glucosidase. This is the first analysis of a sialotranscriptome for any Thysanopteran species and it provides a foundational tool to further our understanding of how thrips interact with their plant hosts and the viruses they transmit.
PMCID: PMC3988053  PMID: 24736614
22.  Comparative Genomics of the Anopheline Glutathione S-Transferase Epsilon Cluster 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29237.
Enzymes of the glutathione S-transferase (GST) family play critical roles in detoxification of xenobiotics across many taxa. While GSTs are ubiquitous both in animals and plants, the GST epsilon class (GSTE) is insect-specific and has been associated with resistance to chemical insecticides. While both Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae GSTE clusters consist of eight members, only four putative orthologs are identifiable between the species, suggesting independent expansions of the class in each lineage. We used a primer walking approach, sequencing almost the entire cluster from three Anopheles species (An. stephensi, An. funestus (both Cellia subgenus) and An. plumbeus (Anopheles subgenus)) and compared the sequences to putative orthologs in An. gambiae (Cellia) in an attempt to trace the evolution of the cluster within the subfamily Anophelinae. Furthermore, we measured transcript levels from the identified GSTE loci by real time reverse transcription PCR to determine if all genes were similarly transcribed at different life stages. Among the species investigated, gene order and orientation were similar with three exceptions: (i) GSTE1 was absent in An. plumbeus; (ii) GSTE2 is duplicated in An. plumbeus and (iii) an additional transcriptionally active pseudogene (ψAsGSTE2) was found in An. stephensi. Further statistical analysis and protein modelling gave evidence for positive selection on codons of the catalytic site in GSTE5 albeit its origin seems to predate the introduction of chemical insecticides. Gene expression profiles revealed differences in expression pattern among genes at different life stages. With the exception of GSTE1, ψAsGSTE2 and GSTE2b, all Anopheles species studied share orthologs and hence we assume that GSTE expansion generally predates radiation into subgenera, though the presence of GSTE1 may also suggest a recent duplication event in the Old World Cellia subgenus, instead of a secondary loss. The modifications of the catalytic site within GSTE5 may represent adaptations to new habitats.
PMCID: PMC3242777  PMID: 22206003
23.  Malaria in Brazil: what happens outside the Amazonian endemic region 
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  2014;109(5):618-633.
Brazil, a country of continental proportions, presents three profiles of malaria transmission. The first and most important numerically, occurs inside the Amazon. The Amazon accounts for approximately 60% of the nation’s territory and approximately 13% of the Brazilian population. This region hosts 99.5% of the nation’s malaria cases, which are predominantly caused by Plasmodium vivax (i.e., 82% of cases in 2013). The second involves imported malaria, which corresponds to malaria cases acquired outside the region where the individuals live or the diagnosis was made. These cases are imported from endemic regions of Brazil (i.e., the Amazon) or from other countries in South and Central America, Africa and Asia. Imported malaria comprised 89% of the cases found outside the area of active transmission in Brazil in 2013. These cases highlight an important question with respect to both therapeutic and epidemiological issues because patients, especially those with falciparum malaria, arriving in a region where the health professionals may not have experience with the clinical manifestations of malaria and its diagnosis could suffer dramatic consequences associated with a potential delay in treatment. Additionally, because the Anopheles vectors exist in most of the country, even a single case of malaria, if not diagnosed and treated immediately, may result in introduced cases, causing outbreaks and even introducing or reintroducing the disease to a non-endemic, receptive region. Cases introduced outside the Amazon usually occur in areas in which malaria was formerly endemic and are transmitted by competent vectors belonging to the subgenus Nyssorhynchus (i.e., Anopheles darlingi, Anopheles aquasalis and species of the Albitarsis complex). The third type of transmission accounts for only 0.05% of all cases and is caused by autochthonous malaria in the Atlantic Forest, located primarily along the southeastern Atlantic Coast. They are caused by parasites that seem to be (or to be very close to) P. vivax and, in a less extent, by Plasmodium malariae and it is transmitted by the bromeliad mosquito Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii. This paper deals mainly with the two profiles of malaria found outside the Amazon: the imported and ensuing introduced cases and the autochthonous cases. We also provide an update regarding the situation in Brazil and the Brazilian endemic Amazon.
PMCID: PMC4156455  PMID: 25185003
malaria; Brazil; Plasmodium vivax; extra-Amazon; simian malaria; bromeliads
24.  Population dynamics, structure and behavior of Anopheles darlingi in a rural settlement in the Amazon rainforest of Acre, Brazil 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:174.
Anopheles darlingi is the major vector of malaria in South America, and its behavior and distribution has epidemiological importance to biomedical research. In Brazil, An. darlingi is found in the northern area of the Amazon basin, where 99.5% of the disease is reported.
The study area, known as Ramal do Granada, is a rural settlement inside the Amazon basin in the state of Acre. Population variations and density have been analysed by species behaviour, and molecular analysis has been measured by ND4 mitochondrial gene sequencing.
The results show higher density in collections near a recent settlement, suggesting that a high level of colonization decreases the vector presence. The biting activity showed higher activity at twilight and major numbers of mosquitos in the remaining hours of the night in months of high density. From a sample of 110 individual mosquitoes, 18 different haplotypes were presented with a diversity index of 0.895, which is higher than that found in other Anopheles studies.
An. darlingi depends on forested regions for their larval and adult survival. In months with higher population density, the presence of mosquitoes persisted in the second part of the night, increasing the vector capacity of the species. Despite the intra-population variation in the transition to rainy season, the seasonal distribution of haplotypes shows no change in the structure population of An. darlingi.
PMCID: PMC3146439  PMID: 21702964
25.  Anti-Anopheles darlingi saliva antibodies as marker of Plasmodium vivax infection and clinical immunity in the Brazilian Amazon 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:121.
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.
PMCID: PMC2699346  PMID: 19500362

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