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1.  Plasmodium falciparum Infection Induces Expression of a Mosquito Salivary Protein (Agaphelin) That Targets Neutrophil Function and Inhibits Thrombosis without Impairing Hemostasis 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(9):e1004338.
Invasion of mosquito salivary glands (SGs) by Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites is an essential step in the malaria life cycle. How infection modulates gene expression, and affects hematophagy remains unclear.
Principal Findings
Using Affimetrix chip microarray, we found that at least 43 genes are differentially expressed in the glands of Plasmodium falciparum-infected Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Among the upregulated genes, one codes for Agaphelin, a 58-amino acid protein containing a single Kazal domain with a Leu in the P1 position. Agaphelin displays high homology to orthologs present in Aedes sp and Culex sp salivary glands, indicating an evolutionarily expanded family. Kinetics and surface plasmon resonance experiments determined that chemically synthesized Agaphelin behaves as a slow and tight inhibitor of neutrophil elastase (KD∼10 nM), but does not affect other enzymes, nor promotes vasodilation, or exhibit antimicrobial activity. TAXIscan chamber assay revealed that Agaphelin inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis toward fMLP, affecting several parameter associated with cell migration. In addition, Agaphelin reduces paw edema formation and accumulation of tissue myeloperoxidase triggered by injection of carrageenan in mice. Agaphelin also blocks elastase/cathepsin-mediated platelet aggregation, abrogates elastase-mediated cleavage of tissue factor pathway inhibitor, and attenuates neutrophil-induced coagulation. Notably, Agaphelin inhibits neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation and prevents FeCl3-induced arterial thrombosis, without impairing hemostasis.
Blockade of neutrophil elastase emerges as a novel antihemostatic mechanism in hematophagy; it also supports the notion that neutrophils and the innate immune response are targets for antithrombotic therapy. In addition, Agaphelin is the first antihemostatic whose expression is induced by Plasmodium sp infection. These results suggest that an important interplay takes place in parasite-vector-host interactions.
Author Summary
Malaria is transmitted by Plasmodium falciparum-infected Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes. Salivary gland contributes to the development of the parasite by creating a favorable environment for the infection and facilitating blood feeding and reproduction of the vector. However, the molecular mechanism by which the vector salivary gland modulates parasite/host interactions is not understood. We discovered that infection of the mosquito salivary gland upregulates several genes; among them, one codes for a protease inhibitor named Agaphelin. Notably, Agaphelin was found to exhibit multiple antihemostatic functions by targeting elastase. As a result, it inhibits platelet function which is required for blood to clot, and it prevents cleavage of TFPI, an anticoagulant that has recently been found to play a crucial role in thrombus formation in vivo. Agaphelin also attenuates neutrophils chemotaxis and the release of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps. These results provide evidence that neutrophils serve as a link between coagulation and the innate immune response. Agaphelin also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects in vivo. Furthermore, Agaphelin did not promote bleeding, suggesting that targeting neutrophil exhibits potential therapeutic value. Altogether, these results highlight that the interplay between parasite, vector and host is a dynamic process that contributes and sustains the interface among Plasmodium, Anopheles and humans.
PMCID: PMC4161438  PMID: 25211214
2.  An insight into the sialome of the oriental rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis (Rots) 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:102.
The salivary glands of hematophagous animals contain a complex cocktail that interferes with the host hemostasis and inflammation pathways, thus increasing feeding success. Fleas represent a relatively recent group of insects that evolved hematophagy independently of other insect orders.
Analysis of the salivary transcriptome of the flea Xenopsylla cheopis, the vector of human plague, indicates that gene duplication events have led to a large expansion of a family of acidic phosphatases that are probably inactive, and to the expansion of the FS family of peptides that are unique to fleas. Several other unique polypeptides were also uncovered. Additionally, an apyrase-coding transcript of the CD39 family appears as the candidate for the salivary nucleotide hydrolysing activity in X.cheopis, the first time this family of proteins is found in any arthropod salivary transcriptome.
Analysis of the salivary transcriptome of the flea X. cheopis revealed the unique pathways taken in the evolution of the salivary cocktail of fleas. Gene duplication events appear as an important driving force in the creation of salivary cocktails of blood feeding arthropods, as was observed with ticks and mosquitoes. Only five other flea salivary sequences exist at this time at NCBI, all from the cat flea C. felis. This work accordingly represents the only relatively extensive sialome description of any flea species. Sialotranscriptomes of additional flea genera will reveal the extent that these novel polypeptide families are common throughout the Siphonaptera.
PMCID: PMC1876217  PMID: 17437641
3.  The Kunitz-Like Modulatory Protein Haemangin Is Vital for Hard Tick Blood-Feeding Success 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(7):e1000497.
Ticks are serious haematophagus arthropod pests and are only second to mosquitoes as vectors of diseases of humans and animals. The salivary glands of the slower feeding hard ticks such as Haemaphysalis longicornis are a rich source of bioactive molecules and are critical to their biologic success, yet distinct molecules that help prolong parasitism on robust mammalian hosts and achieve blood-meals remain unidentified. Here, we report on the molecular and biochemical features and precise functions of a novel Kunitz inhibitor from H. longicornis salivary glands, termed Haemangin, in the modulation of angiogenesis and in persistent blood-feeding. Haemangin was shown to disrupt angiogenesis and wound healing via inhibition of vascular endothelial cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Further, this compound potently inactivated trypsin, chymotrypsin, and plasmin, indicating its antiproteolytic potential on angiogenic cascades. Analysis of Haemangin-specific gene expression kinetics at different blood-feeding stages of adult ticks revealed a dramatic up-regulation prior to complete feeding, which appears to be functionally linked to the acquisition of blood-meals. Notably, disruption of Haemangin-specific mRNA by a reverse genetic tool significantly diminished engorgement of adult H. longicornis, while the knock-down ticks failed to impair angiogenesis in vivo. To our knowledge, we have provided the first insights into transcriptional responses of human microvascular endothelial cells to Haemangin. DNA microarray data revealed that Haemangin altered the expression of 3,267 genes, including those of angiogenic significance, further substantiating the antiangiogenic function of Haemangin. We establish the vital roles of Haemangin in the hard tick blood-feeding process. Moreover, our results provide novel insights into the blood-feeding strategies that enable hard ticks to persistently feed and ensure full blood-meals through the modulation of angiogenesis and wound healing processes.
Author Summary
Ticks are notorious ectoparasites that exclusively feed on a host's blood for a period of 10 days or longer. Upon blood-feeding, an adult female tick gains 100–200 times its body weight compared to its pre-feeding stage. Despite the host's armoury of rejection mechanisms, ticks manage to remain attached until a full blood-meal is ensured. The molecular machineries that make the tick a success with its feeding, however, remain unknown. We demonstrate that the Kunitz-like protein Haemangin, identified from the salivary glands of the tick Haemaphysalis longicornis, plays vital roles in blood-feeding success. Using both cell- and chick embryo–based bioassays, we have shown that Haemangin efficiently disrupted angiogenesis and wound healing processes, enabling ticks to remain attached and allowing persistent feeding. Additionally, in a rabbit model, we reveal that an elevated expression of Haemangin is associated with the acquisition of full blood-meals. Importantly, Haemangin-knockdown ticks fail to prevent angiogenesis in the host's tissues and consequently achieve only a poor blood-meal as compared to normal ticks. We conclude that Haemangin is vital for ticks' survival and can be a novel therapeutic target against ticks and tick-borne diseases, including tumor angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2701603  PMID: 19593376
4.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome of the non-blood feeding Toxorhynchites amboinensis mosquito 
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.
PMCID: PMC2481231  PMID: 18405828
Salivary glands; Transcriptome; Mosquito; Hematophagy
5.  Dengue Virus Infection of the Aedes aegypti Salivary Gland and Chemosensory Apparatus Induces Genes that Modulate Infection and Blood-Feeding Behavior 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(3):e1002631.
The female Aedes aegypti salivary gland plays a pivotal role in bloodmeal acquisition and reproduction, and thereby dengue virus (DENV) transmission. It produces numerous immune factors, as well as immune-modulatory, vasodilatory, and anti-coagulant molecules that facilitate blood-feeding. To assess the impact of DENV infection on salivary gland physiology and function, we performed a comparative genome-wide microarray analysis of the naïve and DENV infection-responsive A. aegypti salivary gland transcriptomes. DENV infection resulted in the regulation of 147 transcripts that represented a variety of functional classes, including several that are essential for virus transmission, such as immunity, blood-feeding, and host-seeking. RNAi-mediated gene silencing of three DENV infection-responsive genes - a cathepsin B, a putative cystatin, and a hypothetical ankyrin repeat-containing protein - significantly modulated DENV replication in the salivary gland. Furthermore, silencing of two DENV infection-responsive odorant-binding protein genes (OBPs) resulted in an overall compromise in blood acquisition from a single host by increasing the time for initiation of probing and the probing time before a successful bloodmeal. We also show that DENV established an extensive infection in the mosquito's main olfactory organs, the antennae, which resulted in changes of the transcript abundance of key host-seeking genes. DENV infection, however, did not significantly impact probing initiation or probing times in our laboratory infection system. Here we show for the first time that the mosquito salivary gland mounts responses to suppress DENV which, in turn, modulates the expression of chemosensory-related genes that regulate feeding behavior. These reciprocal interactions may have the potential to affect DENV transmission between humans.
Author Summary
Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted between humans through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Since the virus is inoculated in saliva, infection of the mosquito salivary gland is an essential requirement for transmission. In addition, the gland also produces numerous biologically active compounds that facilitate blood-feeding. Despite the salivary gland's crucial role in DENV transmission, very little is known about the host-pathogen interactions, at the molecular level, in this organ. In this study, we characterized the A. aegypti salivary gland response to DENV infection at both the gene expression and functional levels. We found that DENV induced the expression of several gene transcripts whose products modulate virus replication in the salivary gland. Unexpectedly, the virus also induced transcripts of two odorant-binding proteins, which we demonstrate to be important for mosquito host-seeking and probing behavior. This is the first study to demonstrate that besides affecting cellular processes that modulate virus replication, DENV also has the potential to alter chemosensory processes in ways that may result in increased virus transmission.
PMCID: PMC3315490  PMID: 22479185
6.  An insight into the sialome of the soft tick, Ornithodorus parkeri 
While hard ticks (Ixodidae) take several days to feed on their hosts, soft ticks (Argasidae) feed faster, usually taking less than one hour per meal. Saliva assists in the feeding process by providing a cocktail of anti-hemostatic, anti-inflammatory and immunomodullatory compounds. Saliva of hard ticks has been shown to contain several families of genes each having multiple members, while those of soft ticks are relatively unexplored.
Analysis of the salivary transcriptome of the soft tick Ornithodorus parkeri, the vector of the relapsing fever agent Borrelia parkeri, indicates that gene duplication events have led to a large expansion of the lipocalin family, as well as of several genes containing Kunitz domains indicative of serine protease inhibitors, and several other gene families also found in hard ticks. Novel protein families with sequence homology to insulin growth factor-binding protein (prostacyclin-stimulating factor), adrenomedulin, serum amyloid A protein precursor and similar to HIV envelope protein were also characterized for the first time in the salivary gland of a blood-sucking arthropod.
The sialotranscriptome of O. parkeri confirms that gene duplication events are an important driving force in the creation of salivary cocktails of blood-feeding arthropods, as was observed with hard ticks and mosquitoes. Most of the genes coding for expanded families are homologous to those found in hard ticks, indicating a strong common evolutionary path between the two families. As happens to all genera of blood-sucking arthropods, several new proteins were also found, indicating the process of adaptation to blood feeding still continues to recent times.
PMCID: PMC2233652  PMID: 18070662
Ornithodorus parkeri; Ixodidae; Argasidae; Sialotranscriptomes; salivary gland transcriptome; sialome; Tick salivary glands
7.  Salivary Gland Proteome Analysis Reveals Modulation of Anopheline Unique Proteins in Insensitive Acetylcholinesterase Resistant Anopheles gambiae Mosquitoes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103816.
Insensitive acetylcholinesterase resistance due to a mutation in the acetylcholinesterase (ace) encoding ace-1 gene confers cross-resistance to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides in Anopheles gambiae populations from Central and West Africa. This mutation is associated with a strong genetic cost revealed through alterations of some life history traits but little is known about the physiological and behavioural changes in insects bearing the ace-1R allele. Comparative analysis of the salivary gland contents between An. gambiae susceptible and ace-1R resistant strains was carried out to charaterize factors that could be involved in modifications of blood meal process, trophic behaviour or pathogen interaction in the insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. Differential analysis of the salivary gland protein profiles revealed differences in abundance for several proteins, two of them showing major differences between the two strains. These two proteins identified as saglin and TRIO are salivary gland-1 related proteins, a family unique to anopheline mosquitoes, one of them playing a crucial role in salivary gland invasion by Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites. Differential expression of two other proteins previously identified in the Anopheles sialome was also observed. The differentially regulated proteins are involved in pathogen invasion, blood feeding process, and protection against oxidation, relevant steps in the outcome of malaria infection. Further functional studies and insect behaviour experiments would confirm the impact of the modification of the sialome composition on blood feeding and pathogen transmission abilities of the resistant mosquitoes. The data supports the hypothesis of alterations linked to insecticide resistance in the biology of the primary vector of human malaria in Africa.
PMCID: PMC4125145  PMID: 25102176
8.  An Updated Insight into the Sialotranscriptome of Triatoma infestans: Developmental Stage and Geographic Variations 
Triatoma infestans is the main vector of Chagas disease in South America. As in all hematophagous arthropods, its saliva contains a complex cocktail that assists blood feeding by preventing platelet aggregation and blood clotting and promoting vasodilation. These salivary components can be immunologically recognized by their vector's hosts and targeted with antibodies that might disrupt blood feeding. These antibodies can be used to detect vector exposure using immunoassays. Antibodies may also contribute to the fast evolution of the salivary cocktail.
Salivary gland cDNA libraries from nymphal and adult T. infestans of breeding colonies originating from different locations (Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia), and cDNA libraries originating from F1 populations of Bolivia, were sequenced using Illumina technology. Coding sequences (CDS) were extracted from the assembled reads, the numbers of reads mapped to these CDS, sequences were functionally annotated and polymorphisms determined.
Main findings/Significance
Over five thousand CDS, mostly full length or near full length, were publicly deposited on GenBank. Transcripts that were over 10-fold overexpressed from different geographical regions, or from different developmental stages were identified. Polymorphisms were mapped to derived coding sequences, and found to vary between developmental instars and geographic origin of the biological material. This expanded sialome database from T. infestans should be of assistance in future proteomic work attempting to identify salivary proteins that might be used as epidemiological markers of vector exposure, or proteins of pharmacological interest.
Author Summary
Triatoma infestans is the main vector of Chagas disease in South America. As in all hematophagous arthropods, its saliva contains a complex cocktail that assists blood feeding by preventing platelet aggregation and blood clotting and promoting vasodilation. These salivary components can be immunologically recognized by their hosts and targeted with antibodies that might disrupt blood feeding. The respective antibodies can be used to detect vector exposure using immunoassays. On the other hand, antibodies may also contribute to the fast evolution of the salivary cocktail. In this work, we attempted to identify variations in the salivary proteins of T. infestans using Illumina technology that allowed identification of over five thousand proteins based on over 300 million sequences obtained from ten salivary gland libraries. This expanded sialome database from T. infestans should be of assistance in future work attempting to identify salivary proteins that might be used as epidemiological markers of vector exposure, or proteins of pharmacological interest.
PMCID: PMC4256203  PMID: 25474469
9.  An insight into the sialome of Glossina morsitans morsitans 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:213.
Blood feeding evolved independently in worms, arthropods and mammals. Among the adaptations to this peculiar diet, these animals developed an armament of salivary molecules that disarm their host's anti-bleeding defenses (hemostasis), inflammatory and immune reactions. Recent sialotranscriptome analyses (from the Greek sialo = saliva) of blood feeding insects and ticks have revealed that the saliva contains hundreds of polypeptides, many unique to their genus or family. Adult tsetse flies feed exclusively on vertebrate blood and are important vectors of human and animal diseases. Thus far, only limited information exists regarding the Glossina sialome, or any other fly belonging to the Hippoboscidae.
As part of the effort to sequence the genome of Glossina morsitans morsitans, several organ specific, high quality normalized cDNA libraries have been constructed, from which over 20,000 ESTs from an adult salivary gland library were sequenced. These ESTs have been assembled using previously described ESTs from the fat body and midgut libraries of the same fly, thus totaling 62,251 ESTs, which have been assembled into 16,743 clusters (8,506 of which had one or more EST from the salivary gland library). Coding sequences were obtained for 2,509 novel proteins, 1,792 of which had at least one EST expressed in the salivary glands. Despite library normalization, 59 transcripts were overrepresented in the salivary library indicating high levels of expression. This work presents a detailed analysis of the salivary protein families identified. Protein expression was confirmed by 2D gel electrophoresis, enzymatic digestion and mass spectrometry. Concurrently, an initial attempt to determine the immunogenic properties of selected salivary proteins was undertaken.
The sialome of G. m. morsitans contains over 250 proteins that are possibly associated with blood feeding. This set includes alleles of previously described gene products, reveals new evidence that several salivary proteins are multigenic and identifies at least seven new polypeptide families unique to Glossina. Most of these proteins have no known function and thus, provide a discovery platform for the identification of novel pharmacologically active compounds, innovative vector-based vaccine targets, and immunological markers of vector exposure.
PMCID: PMC2853526  PMID: 20353571
10.  Cloning and characterization of a mannose binding C-type lectin gene from salivary gland of Aedes albopictus 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7:337.
The studies on sialomes have shown that hematophagous mosquito saliva consists of a lot of pharmacologically active proteins, in which C-type lectins have been identified and regarded as an important component of saliva. The previous studies showed that C-type lectins play crucial roles not only in innate immunity but also in promoting disease transmission in mammals. However, the function and mechanism of C-type lectins from the mosquito sialome is still elusive.
A putative C-type lectin gene (Aalb_CTL1) was cloned and expressed from Aedes albopictus by RT-PCR. The deduced amino acid sequence was analyzed by bioinformatic methods. The gene expression profiles in different tissues and various blood-fed stages of Ae. albopictus were examined by Real-Time qRT-PCR and the biological functions of the recombined mature Aalb_CTL1 were tested by hemagglutination and sugar inhibitory agglutination assays. Moreover, the capabilities of rAalb_CTL1 against microorganisms were measured by microbial-agglutination assay.
The full-length Open reading frame (ORF) of Aalb_CTL1 consisted of 462 bp, encoding 153 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence contained a putative signal peptide of 19 amino acids. It also contained a CRD domain with a WND (Trp137-Asn138-Asp-139) motif that needed calcium for the hemagglutinating activity and an imperfect EPS (Glu128-Pro129-Ser130) motif that had a predicted ligand binding specificity for mannose. The mRNA level of Aalb_CTL1 was much higher in female mosquito salivary gland than those in fat body and midgut which was down-regulated in salivary gland after blood feeding. The rAalb_CTL1 contained not only hemagglutinating activity and a high affinity with mannose but also agglutinating activity against yeast C. albicans and Gram-positive bacteria S. aureus in Ca2+ dependent manner.
Aalb_CTL1 was a mannose-binding C-type lectin and constituted one of the important components in saliva of Ae. albopictus, which could be involved in the defense against yeast and Gram-positive bacteria infection.
PMCID: PMC4223726  PMID: 25051984
C-type lectin; Salivary gland; Ae. albopictus; Prokaryotic expression; Agglutinating activity
11.  Longistatin, a Plasminogen Activator, Is Key to the Availability of Blood-Meals for Ixodid Ticks 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(3):e1001312.
Ixodid ticks are notorious blood-sucking ectoparasites and are completely dependent on blood-meals from hosts. In addition to the direct severe effects on health and productivity, ixodid ticks transmit various deadly diseases to humans and animals. Unlike rapidly feeding vessel-feeder hematophagous insects, the hard ticks feed on hosts for a long time (5−10 days or more), making a large blood pool beneath the skin. Tick's salivary glands produce a vast array of bio-molecules that modulate their complex and persistent feeding processes. However, the specific molecule that functions in the development and maintenance of a blood pool is yet to be identified. Recently, we have reported on longistatin, a 17.8-kDa protein with two functional EF-hand Ca++-binding domains, from the salivary glands of the disease vector, Haemaphysalis longicornis, that has been shown to be linked to blood-feeding processes. Here, we show that longistatin plays vital roles in the formation of a blood pool and in the acquisition of blood-meals. Data clearly revealed that post-transcriptional silencing of the longistatin-specific gene disrupted ticks' unique ability to create a blood pool, and they consequently failed to feed and replete on blood-meals from hosts. Longistatin completely hydrolyzed α, β and γ chains of fibrinogen and delayed fibrin clot formation. Longistatin was able to bind with fibrin meshwork, and activated fibrin clot-bound plasminogen into its active form plasmin, as comparable to that of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), and induced lysis of fibrin clot and platelet-rich thrombi. Plasminogen activation potentiality of longistatin was increased up to 4 times by soluble fibrin. Taken together, our results suggest that longistatin may exert potent functions both as a plasminogen activator and as an anticoagulant in the complex scenario of blood pool formation; the latter is critical to the feeding success and survival of ixodid ticks.
Author Summary
Ixodid ticks are serious blood-sucking ectoparasites that are essentially dependent on blood-meals from hosts for survival. The feeding mechanism of hard ticks, however, is very complex and is quite different from that of blood-sucking insects that suck blood rapidly and directly from blood vessels. Hard ticks suck blood for quite a long period (5−10 days or more) by making a large blood pool beneath the skin. Despite the fact that mammalian hosts are armored with strong blood clotting machineries, ticks manage to keep the blood in a fluid state and to maintain a blood pool until a full blood-meal is secured. However, very little is known about the anti-hemostatic mechanisms by which ticks cleverly manipulate the host's blood clotting cascade and make blood-meals available. Here, we show that longistatin, a salivary gland protein identified from the tick Haemaphysalis longicornis, can efficiently manipulate the host's blood clotting machineries, such as fibrinogen, fibrin and plasminogen, and can help prevent cascade of blood clotting. In conclusion, longistatin plays a crucial role in the blood-feeding success of hard ticks and can be a novel therapeutic target against ticks and tick-borne diseases, including human occlusive cardiovascular diseases like thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3053353  PMID: 21423674
12.  Differential expression of Aedes aegypti salivary transcriptome upon blood feeding 
Parasites & Vectors  2009;2:34.
Saliva of Aedes aegypti contains a complex array of proteins essential for both blood feeding and pathogen transmission. A large numbers of those proteins are classified as unknown in regard to their function(s). Understanding the dynamic interactions at the mosquito-host interface can be achieved in part by characterizing mosquito salivary gland gene expression relative to blood feeding. Towards this end, we developed an oligonucleotide microarray representing 463 transcripts to determine differential regulation of salivary gland genes. This microarray was used to investigate the temporal gene expression pattern of Ae. aegypti salivary gland transcriptome at different times post-blood feeding. Expression of the majority of salivary gland genes (77–87%) did not change significantly as a result of blood feeding, while 8 to 20% of genes were down-regulated and 2.8 to 11.6% genes were up-regulated. Up-regulated genes included defensins, mucins and other immune related proteins. Odorant-binding protein was significantly down-regulated. Among unknown function proteins, several were up-regulated during the first three hours post-blood feeding and one was significantly down-regulated. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR was used to substantiate differential expression patterns of five randomly selected genes. Linear regression analysis revealed a high degree of correlation (R2 > 0.89) between oligonucleotide microarray and quantitative RT-PCR data. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate differential expression of the Ae. aegypti salivary gland transcriptome upon blood feeding. A microarray provides a robust, sensitive way to investigate differential regulation of mosquito salivary gland genes.
PMCID: PMC2720950  PMID: 19630962
13.  The salivary gland transcriptome of the neotropical malaria vector Anopheles darlingi reveals accelerated evolution of genes relevant to hematophagy 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:57.
Mosquito saliva, consisting of a mixture of dozens of proteins affecting vertebrate hemostasis and having sugar digestive and antimicrobial properties, helps both blood and sugar meal feeding. Culicine and anopheline mosquitoes diverged ~150 MYA, and within the anophelines, the New World species diverged from those of the Old World ~95 MYA. While the sialotranscriptome (from the Greek sialo, saliva) of several species of the Cellia subgenus of Anopheles has been described thoroughly, no detailed analysis of any New World anopheline has been done to date. Here we present and analyze data from a comprehensive salivary gland (SG) transcriptome of the neotropical malaria vector Anopheles darlingi (subgenus Nyssorhynchus).
A total of 2,371 clones randomly selected from an adult female An. darlingi SG cDNA library were sequenced and used to assemble a database that yielded 966 clusters of related sequences, 739 of which were singletons. Primer extension experiments were performed in selected clones to further extend sequence coverage, allowing for the identification of 183 protein sequences, 114 of which code for putative secreted proteins.
Comparative analysis of sialotranscriptomes of An. darlingi and An. gambiae reveals significant divergence of salivary proteins. On average, salivary proteins are only 53% identical, while housekeeping proteins are 86% identical between the two species. Furthermore, An. darlingi proteins were found that match culicine but not anopheline proteins, indicating loss or rapid evolution of these proteins in the old world Cellia subgenus. On the other hand, several well represented salivary protein families in old world anophelines are not expressed in An. darlingi.
PMCID: PMC2644710  PMID: 19178717
14.  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
15.  Exploring the mialome of ticks: an annotated catalogue of midgut transcripts from the hard tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae) 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:552.
Ticks are obligate blood feeders. The midgut is the first major region of the body where blood and microbes ingested with the blood meal come in contact with the tick's internal tissues. Little is known about protein expression in the digestive tract of ticks. In this study, for analysis of global gene expression during tick attachment and feeding, we generated and sequenced 1,679 random transcripts (ESTs) from cDNA libraries from the midguts of female ticks at varying stages of feeding.
Sequence analysis of the 1,679 ESTs resulted in the identification of 835 distinct transcripts, from these, a total of 82 transcripts were identified as proteins putatively directly involved in blood meal digestion, including enzymes involved in oxidative stress reduction/antimicrobial activity/detoxification, peptidase inhibitors, protein digestion (cysteine-, aspartic-, serine-, and metallo-peptidases), cell, protein and lipid binding including mucins and iron/heme metabolism and transport. A lectin-like protein with a high match to lectins in other tick species, allergen-like proteins and surface antigens important in pathogen recognition and/or antimicrobial activity were also found. Furthermore, midguts collected from the 6-day-fed ticks expressed twice as many transcripts involved in bloodmeal processing as midguts from unfed/2-day-fed ticks.
This tissue-specific transcriptome analysis provides an opportunity to examine the global expression of transcripts in the tick midgut and to compare the gut response to host attachment versus blood feeding and digestion. In contrast to those in salivary glands of other Ixodid ticks, most proteins in the D. variabilis midgut cDNA library were intracellular. Of the total ESTs associated with a function, an unusually large number of transcripts were associated with peptidases, cell, lipid and protein binding, and oxidative stress or detoxification. Presumably, this is consistent with their role in intracellular processing of the blood meal and response to microbial infections. The presence of many proteins with similar functions is consistent with the hypothesis that gene duplication contributed to the successful adaptation of ticks to hematophagy. Furthermore, these transcripts may be useful to scientists investigating the role of the tick midgut in blood-meal digestion, antimicrobial activity or the transmission of tick-borne pathogens.
PMCID: PMC2644717  PMID: 19021911
16.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:450.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus, known as the brown dog tick, is a common ectoparasite of domestic dogs and can be found worldwide. R.sanguineus is recognized as the primary vector of the etiological agent of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis. Here we present the first description of a R. sanguineus salivary gland transcriptome by the production and analysis of 2,034 expressed sequence tags (EST) from two cDNA libraries, one consctructed using mRNA from dissected salivary glands from female ticks fed for 3-5 days (early to mid library, RsSGL1) and the another from ticks fed for 5 days (mid library, RsSGL2), identifying 1,024 clusters of related sequences.
Based on sequence similarities to nine different databases, we identified transcripts of genes that were further categorized according to function. The category of putative housekeeping genes contained ~56% of the sequences and had on average 2.49 ESTs per cluster, the secreted protein category contained 26.6% of the ESTs and had 2.47 EST's/clusters, while 15.3% of the ESTs, mostly singletons, were not classifiable, and were annotated as "unknown function". The secreted category included genes that coded for lipocalins, proteases inhibitors, disintegrins, metalloproteases, immunomodulatory and antiinflammatory proteins, as Evasins and Da-p36, as well as basic-tail and 18.3 kDa proteins, cement proteins, mucins, defensins and antimicrobial peptides. Comparison of the abundance of ESTs from similar contigs of the two salivary gland cDNA libraries allowed the identification of differentially expressed genes, such as genes coding for Evasins and a thrombin inhibitor, which were over expressed in the RsSGL1 (early to mid library) versus RsSGL2 (mid library), indicating their role in inhibition of inflammation at the tick feeding site from the very beginning of the blood meal. Conversely, sequences related to cement (64P), which function has been correlated with tick attachment, was largely expressed in the mid library.
Our survey provided an insight into the R. sanguineus sialotranscriptome, which can assist the discovery of new targets for anti-tick vaccines, as well as help to identify pharmacologically active proteins.
PMCID: PMC3091647  PMID: 20650005
17.  Identification of Salivary Gland Proteins Depleted after Blood Feeding in the Malaria Vector Anopheles campestris-like Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90809.
Malaria sporozoites must invade the salivary glands of mosquitoes for maturation before transmission to vertebrate hosts. The duration of the sporogonic cycle within the mosquitoes ranges from 10 to 21 days depending on the parasite species and temperature. During blood feeding salivary gland proteins are injected into the vertebrate host, along with malaria sporozoites in the case of an infected mosquito. To identify salivary gland proteins depleted after blood feeding of female Anopheles campestris-like, a potential malaria vector of Plasmodium vivax in Thailand, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and nano-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques were used. Results showed that 19 major proteins were significantly depleted in three to four day-old mosquitoes fed on a first blood meal. For the mosquitoes fed the second blood meal on day 14 after the first blood meal, 14 major proteins were significantly decreased in amount. The significantly depleted proteins in both groups included apyrase, 5′-nucleotidase/apyrase, D7, D7-related 1, short form D7r1, gSG6, anti-platelet protein, serine/threonine-protein kinase rio3, putative sil1, cyclophilin A, hypothetical protein Phum_PHUM512530, AGAP007618-PA, and two non-significant hit proteins. To our knowledge, this study presents for the first time the salivary gland proteins that are involved in the second blood feeding on the day corresponding to the transmission period of the sporozoites to new mammalian hosts. This information serves as a basis for future work concerning the possible role of these proteins in the parasite transmission and the physiological processes that occur during the blood feeding.
PMCID: PMC3944739  PMID: 24599352
18.  Developmentally regulated infectivity of malaria sporozoites for mosquito salivary glands and the vertebrate host 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  1992;175(6):1607-1612.
Sporozoites are an invasive stage of the malaria parasite in both the mosquito vector and the vertebrate host. We developed an in vivo assay for mosquito salivary gland invasion by preparing Plasmodium gallinaceum sporozoites from infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes under physiological conditions and inoculating them into uninfected female Ae. aegypti. Sporozoites from mature oocysts were isolated from mosquito abdomens 10 or 11 d after an infective blood meal. Salivary gland sporozoites were isolated 13 or 14 d after an infective blood meal. Purified oocyst sporozoites that were inoculated into uninfected female mosquitoes invaded their salivary glands. Using the same assay system, sporozoites derived from salivary glands did not reinvade the salivary glands after inoculation. Conversely, as few as 10 to 50 salivary gland sporozoites induced infection in chickens, while only 2 of 10 chickens inoculated with 5,000 oocyst sporozoites were infected. Both sporozoite populations were found to express a circumsporozoite protein on the sporozoite surface as determined by immunofluorescence assay and circumsporozoite precipitation test using a circumsporozoite protein-specific monoclonal antibody. We conclude that molecules other than this circumsporozoite protein may be responsible for the differential invasion of mosquito salivary glands or infection of the vertebrate host.
PMCID: PMC2119265  PMID: 1588284
19.  The sialotranscriptome of Antricola delacruzi female ticks is compatible with non-hematophagous behavior and an alternative source of food 
The hosts for Antricola delacruzi ticks are insectivorous, cave-dwelling bats on which only larvae are found. The mouthparts of nymphal and adult A. delacruzi are compatible with scavenging feeding because the hypostome is small and toothless. How a single blood meal of a larva provides energy for several molts as well as for oviposition by females is not known. Adults of A. delacruzi possibly feed upon an unknown food source in bat guano, a substrate on which nymphal and adult stages are always found. Guano produced by insectivorous bats contains twice the amount of protein and 60 times the amount of iron as beef. In addition, bacteria and chitin-rich fungi proliferate on guano. Comparative data on the transcriptome of the salivary glands of A. delacruzi is nonexistent and would help to understand the physiological adaptations of salivary glands that accompany different sources of food as well as the steps taken by the Acari towards haematophagy, believed to have evolved from scavenging dead animals. Annotation of the transcriptome of salivary glands from female instars of A. delacruzi collected on guano categorized 5.7% of the clusters of expressed genes as putative secreted proteins. They included abundantly expressed TIL domain-containing proteins (possible anti-microbials), an abundantly expressed protein similar to a serum amyloid found in the sialotranscriptomes of Ornithodoros spp., a savignygrin, a family of mucin/peritrophin/cuticle-like proteins, antimicrobials and an HIV envelope-like glycoprotein also found in soft ticks. When comparing the transcriptome of A. delacruzi with those of blood-feeding female soft and hard ticks some notable differences were observed; they consisted of the following transcripts over- or under-represented or absent in the sialotranscriptome of A. delacuzi that may reflect its source of food: ferritin, mucins with chitin-binding domains and TIL domain-containing proteins versus lipocalins, basic tail proteins, metalloproteases, glycine-rich proteins and Kunitz protease inhibitors, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3351099  PMID: 22306723
Antricola delacruzi; Hematophagy; Scavenging; Transcriptome; Salivary glands; Bat guano
20.  Insight into the sialome of the castor bean tick, Ixodes ricinus 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:233.
In recent years, there have been several sialome projects revealing transcripts expressed in the salivary glands of ticks, which are important vectors of several human diseases. Here, we focused on the sialome of the European vector of Lyme disease, Ixodes ricinus.
In the attempt to describe expressed genes and their dynamics throughout the feeding period, we constructed cDNA libraries from four different feeding stages of Ixodes ricinus females: unfed, 24 hours after attachment, four (partially fed) and seven days (fully engorged) after attachment. Approximately 600 randomly selected clones from each cDNA library were sequenced and analyzed. From a total 2304 sequenced clones, 1881 sequences forming 1274 clusters underwent subsequent functional analysis using customized bioinformatics software. Clusters were sorted according to their predicted function and quantitative comparison among the four libraries was made. We found several groups of over-expressed genes associated with feeding that posses a secretion signal and may be involved in tick attachment, feeding or evading the host immune system. Many transcripts clustered into families of related genes with stage-specific expression. Comparison to Ixodes scapularis and I. pacificus transcripts was made.
In addition to a large number of homologues of the known transcripts, we obtained several novel predicted protein sequences. Our work contributes to the growing list of proteins associated with tick feeding and sheds more light on the dynamics of the gene expression during tick feeding. Additionally, our results corroborate previous evidence of gene duplication in the evolution of ticks.
PMCID: PMC2410133  PMID: 18489795
21.  Functional genetic characterization of salivary gland development in Aedes aegypti 
EvoDevo  2013;4:9.
Despite the devastating global impact of mosquito-borne illnesses on human health, very little is known about mosquito developmental biology. In this investigation, functional genetic analysis of embryonic salivary gland development was performed in Aedes aegypti, the dengue and yellow fever vector and an emerging model for vector mosquito development. Although embryonic salivary gland development has been well studied in Drosophila melanogaster, little is known about this process in mosquitoes or other arthropods.
Mosquitoes possess orthologs of many genes that regulate Drosophila melanogaster embryonic salivary gland development. The expression patterns of a large subset of these genes were assessed during Ae. aegypti development. These studies identified a set of molecular genetic markers for the developing mosquito salivary gland. Analysis of marker expression allowed for tracking of the progression of Ae. aegypti salivary gland development in embryos. In Drosophila, the salivary glands develop from placodes located in the ventral neuroectoderm. However, in Ae. aegypti, salivary marker genes are not expressed in placode-like patterns in the ventral neuroectoderm. Instead, marker gene expression is detected in salivary gland rudiments adjacent to the proventriculus. These observations highlighted the need for functional genetic characterization of mosquito salivary gland development. An siRNA- mediated knockdown strategy was therefore employed to investigate the role of one of the marker genes, cyclic-AMP response element binding protein A (Aae crebA), during Ae. aegypti salivary gland development. These experiments revealed that Aae crebA encodes a key transcriptional regulator of the secretory pathway in the developing Ae. aegypti salivary gland.
The results of this investigation indicated that the initiation of salivary gland development in Ae. aegypti significantly differs from that of D. melanogaster. Despite these differences, some elements of salivary gland development, including the ability of CrebA to regulate secretory gene expression, are conserved between the two species. These studies underscore the need for further analysis of mosquito developmental genetics and may foster comparative studies of salivary gland development in additional insect species.
PMCID: PMC3599648  PMID: 23497573
Aedes aegypti; CrebA; Development; Drosophila melanogaster; Mosquito; Salivary gland; siRNA; Vector
22.  Platelet aggregation Inhibitors from Hametophagous Animals 
Salivary glands from blood-sucking animals (e.g., mosquitoes, bugs, sandflies, fleas, ticks, leeches, hookworms, bats) are a rich source of bioactive molecules that counteract hemostasis in a redundant and synergistic manner. This review discusses recent progress in the identification of salivary inhibitors of platelet aggregation, their molecular characterization, and detailed mechanism of action. Diversity of inhibitors is remarkable, with distinct families of proteins characterized as apyrases that enzymatically degrade ADP or as collagen-binding proteins that prevent its interaction with vWF, or platelet integrin α2β1 or GPVI. Molecules that bind ADP, TXA2, epinephrine, or serotonin with high affinity have also been cloned, expressed, and their structure determined. In addition, a repertoire of antithrombins and an increasingly number of RGD and non-RGD disintegrins targeting platelet αIIbβ3 have been reported. Moreover, metalloproteases with fibrinogen(olytic) activity and PAF phosphorylcholine hydrolase are enzymes that have been recruited to the salivary gland to block platelet aggregation. Platelet inhibitory prostaglandins, lysophosphatydilcholine, adenosine, and nitric oxide (NO)-carrying proteins are other notable examples of molecules from hematophagous salivary secretions (herein named sialogenins) with antihemostatic properties. Sialogenins have been employed as tools in biochemistry and cell biology and also display potential therapeutic applications.
PMCID: PMC2888830  PMID: 20035779
Aegyptin; Ixolaris; D7-short; RPAI-1; Nitrophorin; Anophelin; Lipocalin; Tick; Mosquito; Sand fly; Ixodegrin; Ornatin; Metalloproteases; Sialogenin
23.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome of the West Nile mosquito vector, Culex tarsalis 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:51.
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.
PMCID: PMC2823692  PMID: 20089177
24.  Salivary Glands Proteins Expression of Anopheles dirus A Fed on Plasmodium vivax- and Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Human Blood 
Mosquitoes are able to adapt to feed on blood by the salivary glands which created a protein that works against the haemostasis process. This study aims to investigate the salivary glands proteins expression of 50 adult female An. dirus A mosquitoes, a main vector of malaria in Thailand, each group with an age of 5 days which were artificial membrane fed on sugar, normal blood, blood infected with P. vivax, and blood infected with P. falciparum. Then mosquito salivary gland proteins were analyzed by SDS-PAGE on days 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 after feeding. The findings revealed that the major salivary glands proteins had molecular weights of 62, 58, 43, 36, 33, 30, and 18 kDa. One protein band of approximately 13 kDa was found in normal blood and blood infected with P. vivax fed on day 0. A stronger protein band, 65 kDa, was expressed from the salivary glands of mosquitoes fed with P. vivax- or P. falciparum-infected blood on only day 0, but none on days 1 to 4. The study shows that salivary glands proteins expression of An. dirus may affect the malaria parasite life cycle and the ability of mosquitoes to transmit malaria parasites in post-24-hour disappearance observation.
PMCID: PMC3727210  PMID: 23956841
25.  An Insight into the Sialotranscriptome of the Cat Flea, Ctenocephalides felis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44612.
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.
PMCID: PMC3458046  PMID: 23049752

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