Pemphigus foliaceus is a life threatening skin disease that is associated with autoimmunity to desmoglein, a skin protein involved in the adhesion of keratinocytes. This disease is endemic in certain areas of South America, suggesting the mediation of environmental factors triggering autoimmunity. Among the possible environmental factors, exposure to bites of black flies, in particular Simulium nigrimanum has been suggested. In this work, we describe the sialotranscriptome of adult female S. nigrimanum flies. It reveals the complexity of the salivary potion of this insect, comprised by over 70 distinct genes within over 30 protein families, including several novel families, even when compared with the previously described sialotranscriptome of the autogenous black fly, S. vittatum. The uncovering of this sialotranscriptome provides a platform for testing pemphigus patient sera against recombinant salivary proteins from S. nigrimanum and for the discovery of novel pharmacologically active compounds.
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.
Black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) feed on blood, and are important vectors of Onchocerca volvulus, the etiolytic agent of River Blindness. Blood feeding depends on pharmacological properties of saliva, including anticoagulation, but the molecules responsible for this activity have not been well characterized.
Two Kunitz family proteins, SV-66 and SV-170, were identified in the sialome of the black fly Simulium vittatum. As Kunitz proteins are inhibitors of serine proteases, we hypothesized that SV-66 and/or −170 were involved in the anticoagulant activity of black fly saliva. Our results indicated that recombinant (r) SV-66 but not rSV-170 inhibited plasma coagulation. Mutational analysis suggested that SV-66 is a canonical BPTI-like inhibitor. Functional assays indicated that rSV66 reduced the activity of ten serine proteases, including several involved in mammalian coagulation. rSV-66 most strongly inhibited the activity of Factor Xa, elastase, and cathepsin G, exhibited lesser inhibitory activity against Factor IXa, Factor XIa, and plasmin, and exhibited no activity against Factor XIIa and thrombin. Surface plasmon resonance studies indicated that rSV-66 bound with highest affinity to elastase (KD = 0.4 nM) and to the active site of FXa (KD = 3.07 nM). We propose the name “Simukunin” for this novel protein.
We conclude that Simukunin preferentially inhibits Factor Xa. The inhibition of elastase and cathepsin G further suggests this protein may modulate inflammation, which could potentially affect pathogen transmission.
Ticks are mites specialized in acquiring blood from vertebrates as their sole source of food and are important disease vectors to humans and animals. Among the specializations required for this peculiar diet, ticks evolved a sophisticated salivary potion that can disarm their host’s hemostasis, inflammation, and immune reactions. Previous transcriptome analysis of tick salivary proteins has revealed many new protein families indicative of fast evolution, possibly due to host immune pressure. The hard ticks (family Ixodidae) are further divided into two basal groups, of which the Metastriata have 11 genera. While salivary transcriptomes and proteomes have been described for some of these genera, no tick of the genus Hyalomma has been studied so far. The analysis of 2,084 expressed sequence tags (EST) from a salivary gland cDNA library allowed an exploration of the proteome of this tick species by matching peptide ions derived from MS/MS experiments to this data set. We additionally compared these MS/MS derived peptide sequences against the proteins from the bovine host, finding many host proteins in the salivary glands of this tick. This annotated data set can assist the discovery of new targets for anti-tick vaccines as well as help to identify pharmacologically active proteins.
Tick; hematophagy; salivary glands; sialome
Triatoma matogrossensis is a Hemiptera that belongs to the oliveirai complex, a vector of Chagas' disease that feeds on vertebrate blood in all life stages. Hematophagous insects' salivary glands (SGs) produce potent pharmacologic compounds that counteract host hemostasis, including anticlotting, antiplatelet, and vasodilatory molecules. Exposure to T. matogrossensis was also found to be a risk factor associated with the endemic form of the autoimmune skin disease pemphigus foliaceus, which is described in the same regions where Chagas' disease is observed in Brazil. To obtain a further insight into the salivary biochemical and pharmacologic diversity of this kissing bug and to identify possible allergens that might be associated with this autoimmune disease, a cDNA library from its SGs was randomly sequenced. We present the analysis of a set of 2,230 (SG) cDNA sequences, 1,182 of which coded for proteins of a putative secretory nature.
The salivary transcriptome of the seed-feeding hemipteran, Oncopeltus fasciatus (milkweed bug), is described following assembly of 1,025 ESTs into 305 clusters of related sequences. Inspection of these sequences reveals abundance of low complexity, putative secreted products rich in the amino acids (aa) glycine, serine or threonine, which might function as silk or mucins and assist food canal lubrication and sealing of the feeding site around the mouthparts. Several protease inhibitors were found, including abundant expression of cystatin transcripts that may inhibit cysteine proteases common in seeds that might injure the insect or induce plant apoptosis. Serine proteases and lipases are described that might assist digestion and liquefaction of seed proteins and oils. Finally, several novel putative proteins are described with no known function that might affect plant physiology or act as antimicrobials. Supplemental files mentioned in the text can be obtained from http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome.html#non_blood_feeding
Feeding; Phytophagy; Salivary glands; Sialotranscriptome
Adaptation to vertebrate blood feeding includes development of a salivary ‘magic potion’ that can disarm host hemostasis and inflammatory reactions. Within the lower Diptera, a vertebrate blood-sucking mode evolved in the Psychodidae (sand flies), Culicidae (mosquitoes), Ceratopogonidae (biting midges), Simuliidae (black flies), and in the frog-feeding Corethrellidae. Sialotranscriptome analyses from several species of mosquitoes and sand flies and from one biting midge indicate divergence in the evolution of the blood-sucking salivary potion, manifested in the finding of many unique proteins within each insect family, and even genus. Gene duplication and divergence events are highly prevalent, possibly driven by vertebrate host immune pressure. Within this framework, we describe the sialome (from Greek sialo, saliva) of the black fly Simulium vittatum and discuss the findings within the context of the protein families found in other blood-sucking Diptera. Sequences and results of Blast searches against several protein family databases are given in Supplemental Tables S1 and S2, which can be obtained from http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/S_vittatum/T1/SV-tb1.zip and http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/S_vittatum/T2/SV-tb2.zip.
Simulium vittatum; black fly; sialotranscriptomes; salivary gland transcriptome; sialome; proteome; hematophagy; onchocerciasis
The kissing bug Triatoma rubida (Uhler, 1894) is found in southwestern United States and parts of Mexico where it is found infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, invades human dwellings and causes allergies from their bites. Although the protein salivary composition of several triatomine species is known, not a single salivary protein sequence is known from T. rubida. Furthermore, the salivary diversity of related hematophagous arthropods is very large probably because of the immune pressure from their hosts. Here we report the sialotranscriptome analysis of T. rubida based on the assembly of 1,820 high-quality expressed sequence tags, 51% of which code for putative secreted peptides, including lipocalins, members of the antigen five family, apyrase, hemolysin, and trialysin families. Interestingly, T. rubida lipocalins are at best 40% identical in primary sequence to those of T. protracta, a kissing bug that overlaps its range with T. rubida, indicating the diversity of the salivary lipocalins among species of the same hematophagous genus. We additionally found several expressed sequence tags coding for proteins of clear Trypanosoma spp. origin. This work contributes to the future development of markers of human and pet exposure to T. rubida and to the possible development of desensitization therapies. Supp. Data 1 and 2(online only) of the transcriptome and deducted protein sequences can be obtained from http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/Trubida/Triru-S1-web.xlsx and http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/Trubida/Triru-S2-web.xlsx.
Chagas disease; vector biology; salivary gland; sialome; transcriptome
Triatoma brasiliensis is the most important autochthon vector of Trypanosoma cruzi in Brazil, where it is widely distributed in the semiarid areas of the Northeast. In order to advance the knowledge of the salivary biomolecules of Triatominae, a salivary gland cDNA library of T. brasiliensis was mass sequenced and analyzed. Polypeptides were sequenced by HPLC/Edman degradation experiments. 1,712 cDNA sequences were obtained and grouped in 786 clusters. The housekeeping category had 24.4% and 17.8% of the clusters and sequences, respectively. The putatively secreted category contained 47.1% of the clusters and 68.2% of the sequences. Finally, 28.5% of the clusters, containing 14% of all sequences, were classified as unknown. The sialoma of T. brasiliensis showed a high amount and great variety of different lipocalins (93.8% of secreted proteins). Remarkably, a great number of serine proteases that were not observed in previous blood-sucking sialotranscriptomes were found. Nine Kazal peptides were identified, among them one with high homology to the tabanid vasodilator vasotab, suggesting that the Triatoma vasodilator could be a Kazal protein.
Saliva; Transcriptome; Hematophagy; Salivary proteins; Triatoma brasiliensis
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.
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.
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.
Antricola delacruzi; Hematophagy; Scavenging; Transcriptome; Salivary glands; Bat guano
All adult mosquitoes take sugar meals, and most adult females also take blood meals to develop eggs. Salivary glands (SG) of males are thus much smaller and do not contain many of the antihemostatic and antiinflammatory compounds found in females. In the past 5 years, transcriptome analyses have identified nearly 70 different genes expressed in adult female SG. For most of these, no function can be assigned in either blood or sugar feeding. Exceptionally, Toxorhynchites mosquitoes are unusual in that they never feed on blood, and the SG of adults are identical in both sexes. Transcriptome analysis of the adult SG of this mosquito was performed to increase knowledge of the evolution of blood feeding—and to identify polypeptide families associated with sugar feeding—in mosquitoes.
Salivary glands; Transcriptome; Mosquito; Hematophagy
The salivary glands of blood sucking arthropods contain a redundant ‘magic potion’ that counteracts their vertebrate host’s hemostasis, inflammation, and immunity. We here describe the salivary transcriptome and proteomics (sialome) of the soft tick Ornithodoros coriaceus. The resulting analysis helps to consolidate the classification of common proteins found in both soft and hard ticks, such as the lipocalins, Kunitz, cystatin, basic tail, hebraein, defensin, TIL domain, metalloprotease, 5′-nucleotidase/apyrase, and phospholipase families, and also to identify protein families uniquely found in the Argasidae, such as the adrenomedullin/CGRP peptides, 7DB, 7 kDa, and the RGD containing single Kunitz proteins. Additionally, we found a protein belonging to the cytotoxin protein family that has so far only been identified in hard ticks. Three other unique families common only to the Ornithodoros genus were discovered. Edman degradation, 2D and 1D PAGE of salivary gland homogenates followed by tryptic digestion and HPLC MS/MS of results confirms the presence of several proteins. These results indicate that each genus of hematophagous arthropods studied to date evolved unique protein families that assist blood feeding, thus characterizing potentially new pharmacologically active components or antimicrobial agents.
Ornithodoros coriaceus; Ixodidae; Argasidae; Sialotranscriptome; Salivary gland transcriptome; Sialome; Tick salivary gland; Ixolaris
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.
Onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of river blindness, is transmitted through the black fly Simulium damnosum s.l., which breeds in turbulent river waters. To date, the number of flies attacking humans has only been determined by standard fly collectors near the river or the village. In our study, we counted the actual number of attacking and successfully feeding S. damnosum s.l. flies landing on individual villagers during their routine day-time activities in two villages of the Sudan-savannah and rainforest of Cameroon. We compared these numbers to the number of flies caught by a standard vector-collector, one positioned near the particular villager during his/her daily activity and the other sitting at the nearest Simulium breeding site.
Using these data obtained by the two vector-collectors, we were able to calculate the Actual Index of Exposure (AIE). While the AIE in the savannah was on average 6,3%, it was 34% in the rainforest. The Effective Annual Transmission Potential (EATP) for individual villagers was about 20 fold higher in the rainforest compared to the savannah.
Here we show for the first time that it is possible to determine the EATP. Further studies with more subjects are needed in the future. These data are important for the development of future treatment strategies.
The evolution of insects to a blood diet leads to the development of a saliva that antagonizes their hosts' hemostasis and inflammation. Hemostasis and inflammation are redundant processes, and thus a complex salivary potion comprised of dozens or near one hundred different polypeptides is commonly found by transcriptome or proteome analysis of these organisms. Several insect orders or families evolved independently to hematophagy creating unique salivary potions in the form of novel pharmacological use of endogenous substances, and in the form of unique proteins not matching other known proteins, these probably arriving by fast evolution of salivary proteins as they evade their hosts' immune response. In this work we present a preliminary description of the sialome (from the Greek Sialo = saliva) of the common bed bug Cimex lectularius, the first such work from a member of the Cimicidae family. This manuscript is a guide for the supplemental database files http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/C_lectularius/S1/Cimex-S1.zip and http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/C_lectularius/S2/Cimex-S2.xls
Bedbug; saliva; salivary transcriptome; salivary proteome
Understanding environmental factors affecting the timing and rate of animal development, as well as the factors that cause their effects, is of great importance. The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between the onset and duration of the development from egg to pupal stage and water temperature in three black fly (Diptera: Simuliidae) species: Simulium (Simulium) reptans (Linnaeus 1758), Simulium (Byssodon) maculatum (Meigen 1804), Simulium (Boophthora) erythrocephalum (De Geer 1776). The study was based on surveys conducted between April and June of 1998–2010. The water temperature on the day of larval eclosion had no statistically significant impact on the beginning of development in any of the three species studied. The date when water temperature in the river reaches a certain value is important to the initiation of development in some black fly species. The present study revealed that the most important dates to the beginning of development of S. reptans black flies are when water temperature rises above 5° C, 7° C, and 10° C, while pivotal dates to the development of S. maculatum are when water temperature exceeds 4° C and 10° C. Water temperature most often exceeds the value important to the start of the development of these black fly species during March and April. The findings of the present study show that the hatching time of the two black fly species is also related to the mean water temperature in March and April. There were no statistically significant relations established between certain temperature dates and the beginning of larval development in S. erythrocephalum. Significant relations (p < 0.01) were found to exist between the duration of the development cycle from the first instar larva to pupa and the mean water temperature during the development period in S. reptans (r = -0.84; y = 53.088e-0.0806x, R2 = 0.70), S. maculatum (r = -0.82; y = 186.48e-0.1123x, R2 = 0.69) and S. erythrocephalum (r = -0.83; y = 58.768e-0.0652x, R2 = 0.70). The present study showed that the duration of development from the first instar larva to pupa in all the three black fly species studied was shorter when water temperatures during the development period were higher and longer when water temperatures were lower. The devised model of dependence between the duration of the studied black fly species' development and water temperature was verified experimentally.
hatching; larvae; pupae; Simuliidae; temperature
Adult stable flies are blood feeders, a nuisance, and mechanical vectors of veterinary diseases. To enable efficient feeding, blood sucking insects have evolved a sophisticated array of salivary compounds to disarm their host's hemostasis and inflammatory reaction. While the sialomes of several blood sucking Nematocera flies have been described, no thorough description has been made so far of any Brachycera, except for a detailed proteome analysis of a tabanid (Xu et al., 2008). In this work we provide an insight into the sialome of the muscid Stomoxys calcitrans, revealing a complex mixture of serine proteases, endonucleases, Kazal-containing peptides, anti-thrombins, antigen-5 related proteins, antimicrobial peptides, and the usual finding of mysterious secreted peptides that have no known partners, and may reflect the very fast evolution of salivary proteins due to the vertebrate host immune pressure. Supplemental tables S1 and S2 can be downloaded from http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/S_calcitrans/T1/Sc-tb1-web.xls and http://exon.niaid.nih.gov/transcriptome/S_calcitrans/T2/Sc-tb2-web.xls.
Salivary glands; stable fly; hematophagy; sialome; cDNA library; proteome
Oocyte development was studied in the autogenous black fly, Simulium vittatum (Diptera, Nematocera), a vector of Onchocerca volvulus, the causative agent of onchocerciasis.
Oocyte growth was nearly linear between adult eclosion and was complete by 72 hours at 21°C. The oocyte became opaque at 14 hours after eclosion indicating the initiation of protein yolk deposition. The accumulation of vitellogenin was measured using SDS-PAGE. The density of the yolk protein bands at about 200 and 65 kDa increased during the first and second days after eclosion. The amount of protein in the 200 kDa band of vitellogenin, determined using densitometry, rapidly increased between 12 and 25 hours after eclosion. Ecdysteroid levels were measured using a competitive ELISA. Ecdysteroid levels increased rapidly and subsequently declined during the first day after eclosion.
These data show a correlation between the appearance of vitellogenin in the oocyte, and the rise in ecdysteroids. A possible relationship to molting of the nematode, Onchocerca volvulus, is discussed.
To determine the geographic origin of the black fly Simulium suzukii on Okinawa Island, Japan, macrogenomic profiles derived from its polytene chromosomes were compared with those of mainland and other insular populations of S. suzukii and of the isomorphic Simulium tani species complex. The Okinawan population is a chromosomally unique cytoform, designated ‘D,’ which is essentially monomorphic and differs by about 27 fixed rearrangements from the chromosomal standard sequence for the subgenus Simulium and by two fixed differences from its nearest known relative, representing the type of S. suzukii, on the main islands of Japan. Chromosomal band sequences revealed two additional, sympatric cytoforms of S. suzukii, designated ‘A’ and ‘B,’ each with species status, in Korea, and a third cytoform, designated ‘C,’ on Hokkaido, Japan. A new cytoform, ‘K,’ of S. tani from Malaysia, representing the type of S. tani, is more closely related to cytoforms in Thailand, as are populations from Taiwan previously treated as S. suzukii but more closely aligned with S. tani and newly recognized as cytoform ‘L’ of the latter nominal species. Rooting of chromosomal band sequences by outgroup comparisons allowed directionality of chromosomal rearrangements to be established, enabling phylogenetic inference of cytoforms. Of 41 macrogenomic rearrangements discovered in the five new cytoforms, four provide evidence for a stepwise origin of the Okinawan population from populations characteristic of the main islands of Japan. The macrogenomic approach applied to black flies on Okinawa Island illustrates its potential utility in defining source areas for other species of flies including those that might pose medical and veterinary risks.
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.
Ornithodorus parkeri; Ixodidae; Argasidae; Sialotranscriptomes; salivary gland transcriptome; sialome; Tick salivary glands
Saliva of blood sucking arthropods contains compounds that antagonize their hosts' hemostasis, which include platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction and blood clotting; saliva of these organisms also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodullatory properties. Perhaps because hosts mount an active immune response against these compounds, the diversity of these compounds is large even among related blood sucking species. Because of these properties, saliva helps blood feeding as well as help the establishment of pathogens that can be transmitted during blood feeding.
We have obtained 1,626,969 reads by pyrosequencing a salivary gland cDNA library from adult females Amblyomma maculatum ticks at different times of feeding. Assembly of this data produced 72,441 sequences larger than 149 nucleotides from which 15,914 coding sequences were extracted. Of these, 5,353 had >75% coverage to their best match in the non-redundant database from the National Center for Biotechnology information, allowing for the deposition of 4,850 sequences to GenBank. The annotated data sets are available as hyperlinked spreadsheets. Putative secreted proteins were classified in 133 families, most of which have no known function.
This data set of proteins constitutes a mining platform for novel pharmacologically active proteins and for uncovering vaccine targets against A. maculatum and the diseases they carry.
Human onchocerciasis (river blindness) is the filarial infection caused by Onchocerca volvulus and transmitted among people through the bites of the Simulium vector. Some 86 million people around the world are at risk of acquiring the nematode, with 18 million people infected and 600,000 visually impaired, half of them partially or totally blind. 99% of cases occur in tropical Africa; scattered foci exist in Latin America. Until recently control programmes, in operation since 1975, have consisted of antivectorial measures. With the introduction of ivermectin in 1988, safe and effective chemotherapy is now available. With the original Onchocerciasis Control Programme of West Africa coming to an end, both the new African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and the Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme for the Americas, rely heavily on ivermectin self-sustained mass delivery. In consequence, the need for understanding the processes regulating parasite abundance in human and simuliid populations is of utmost importance. We present a simple mathematical framework built around recent analyses of exposure- and density-dependent processes operating, respectively, within the human and vector hosts. An expression for the basic reproductive ratio, R0, is derived and related to the minimum vector density required for parasite persistence in localities of West Africa in general and northern Cameroon in particular. Model outputs suggest that constraints acting against parasite establishment in both humans and vectors are necessary to reproduce field observations, but those in humans may not fully protect against reinfection. Analyses of host age-profiles of infection prevalence, intensity, and aggregation for increasing levels of endemicity and intensity of transmission in the Vina valley of northern Cameroon are in agreement with these results and discussed in light of novel work on onchocerciasis immunology.
Elimination of onchocerciasis (river blindness) through mass administration of ivermectin in the six countries in Latin America where it is endemic is considered feasible due to the relatively small size and geographic isolation of endemic foci. We evaluated whether transmission of onchocerciasis has been interrupted in the endemic focus of Escuintla-Guatemala in Guatemala, based on World Health Organization criteria for the certification of elimination of onchocerciasis.
We conducted evaluations of ocular morbidity and past exposure to Onchocerca volvulus in the human population, while potential vectors (Simulium ochraceum) were captured and tested for O. volvulus DNA; all of the evaluations were carried out in potentially endemic communities (PEC; those with a history of actual or suspected transmission or those currently under semiannual mass treatment with ivermectin) within the focus. The prevalence of microfilariae in the anterior segment of the eye in 329 individuals (≥7 years old, resident in the PEC for at least 5 years) was 0% (one-sided 95% confidence interval [CI] 0–0.9%). The prevalence of antibodies to a recombinant O. volvulus antigen (Ov-16) in 6,432 school children (aged 6 to 12 years old) was 0% (one-sided 95% IC 0–0.05%). Out of a total of 14,099 S. ochraceum tested for O. volvulus DNA, none was positive (95% CI 0–0.01%). The seasonal transmission potential was, therefore, 0 infective stage larvae per person per season.
Based on these evaluations, transmission of onchocerciasis in the Escuintla-Guatemala focus has been successfully interrupted. Although this is the second onchocerciasis focus in Latin America to have demonstrated interruption of transmission, it is the first focus with a well-documented history of intense transmission to have eliminated O. volvulus.
Brought to the Americas from Africa by the slave trade, onchocerciasis is present in six countries in Latin America. The disease is caused by a round worm and is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected black fly. Once in a human, the adult worms produce larvae that circulate through the body, causing itching or even blindness. Ivermectin, a drug that kills the larvae, is delivered by public health authorities in countries where the disease is present. If the larvae are killed, then the disease cannot be transmitted to more people. People living in the Escuintla-Guatemala focus, a region in Guatemala where the disease was common, have been taking ivermectin for many years. The Ministry of Health of Guatemala believes that onchocerciasis is no longer being transmitted in the area. To prove that there is no more transmission of the disease, the authors examined the eyes of residents of the area to see if they could find any evidence of the worms. They also conducted analyses of blood in school children to see if they had ever been exposed to the worm, and they caught thousands of black flies and tested them to see if they were infected. These evaluations found no evidence of transmission of the disease in the Escuintla-Guatemala focus. As a result, local public health authorities can stop giving ivermectin and invest their human resources in other important diseases.