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author:("arch, Bruno")
1.  Differential antibody response to the Anopheles gambiae gSG6 and cE5 salivary proteins in individuals naturally exposed to bites of malaria vectors 
Parasites & Vectors  2014;7(1):549.
Mosquito saliva plays crucial roles in blood feeding but also evokes in hosts an anti-saliva antibody response. The IgG response to the Anopheles gambiae salivary protein gSG6 was previously shown to be a reliable indicator of human exposure to Afrotropical malaria vectors. We analyzed here the humoral response to the salivary anti-thrombin cE5 in a group of individuals from a malaria hyperendemic area of Burkina Faso.
ELISA was used to measure the anti-cE5 IgG, IgG1 and IgG4 antibody levels in plasma samples collected in the village of Barkoumbilen (Burkina Faso) among individuals of the Rimaibé ethnic group. Anti-gSG6 IgG levels were also determined for comparison. Anopheles vector density in the study area was evaluated by indoor pyrethrum spray catches.
The cE5 protein was highly immunogenic and triggered in exposed individuals a relatively long-lasting antibody response, as shown by its unchanged persistence after a few months of absent or very low exposure (dry season). In addition cE5 did not induce immune tolerance, as previously suggested for the gSG6 antigen. Finally, IgG subclass analysis suggested that exposed individuals may mount a Th1-type immune response against the cE5 protein.
The anti-cE5 IgG response is shown here to be a sensitive indicator of human exposure to anopheline vectors and to represent an additional tool for malaria epidemiological studies. It may be especially useful in conditions of low vector density, to monitor transiently exposed individuals (i.e. travellers/workers/soldiers spending a few months in tropical Africa) and to evaluate the impact of insecticide treated nets on vector control. Moreover, the gSG6 and cE5 salivary proteins were shown to trigger in exposed individuals a strikingly different immune response with (i) gSG6 evoking a short-lived IgG response, characterized by high IgG4 levels and most likely induction of immune tolerance, and (ii) cE5 eliciting a longer-living IgG response, dominated by anti-cE5 IgG1 antibodies and not inducing tolerance mechanisms. We believe that these two antigens may represent useful reagents to further investigate the so far overlooked role of Anopheles saliva and salivary proteins in host early immune response to Plasmodium parasites.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-014-0549-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4253619  PMID: 25428638
Anopheles gambiae; Salivary proteins; Immune response; IgG; IgG1; IgG4; Marker of exposure; Plasmodium transmission; Malaria epidemiology
2.  IgG1 and IgG4 Antibody Responses to the Anopheles gambiae Salivary Protein gSG6 in the Sympatric Ethnic Groups Mossi and Fulani in a Malaria Hyperhendemic Area of Burkina Faso 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e96130.
Human antibody response to the Anopheles gambiae salivary protein gSG6 has recently emerged as a potentially useful tool for malaria epidemiological studies and for the evaluation of vector control interventions. However, the current understanding of the host immune response to mosquito salivary proteins and of the possible crosstalk with early response to Plasmodium parasites is still very limited. We report here the analysis of IgG1 and IgG4 subclasses among anti-gSG6 IgG responders belonging to Mossi and Fulani from Burkina Faso, two ethnic groups which are known for their differential humoral response to parasite antigens and for their different susceptibility to malaria. The IgG1 antibody response against the gSG6 protein was comparable in the two groups. On the contrary, IgG4 titers were significantly higher in the Fulani where, in addition, anti-gSG6 IgG4 antibodies appeared in younger children and the ratio IgG4/IgG1 stayed relatively stable throughout adulthood. Both gSG6-specific IgG1 and IgG4 antibodies showed a tendency to decrease with age whereas, as expected, the IgG response to the Plasmodium circumsporozoite protein (CSP) exhibited an opposite trend in the same individuals. These observations are in line with the idea that the An. gambiae gSG6 salivary protein induces immune tolerance, especially after intense and prolonged exposure as is the case for the area under study, suggesting that gSG6 may trigger in exposed individuals a Th2-oriented immune response.
PMCID: PMC3997568  PMID: 24760038
3.  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
4.  The Anopheles gambiae salivary protein gSG6: an anopheline-specific protein with a blood-feeding role 
The Anopheles gambiae salivary gland protein 6 (gSG6) is a small protein specifically found in the salivary glands of adult female mosquitoes. We report here the expression of a recombinant form of the protein and we show that in vivo gSG6 is expressed in distal-lateral lobes and is secreted with the saliva while the female mosquito probes for feeding. Injection of gSG6 dsRNA into adult An. gambiae females results in decreased gSG6 protein levels, increased probing time and reduced blood feeding ability. gSG6 orthologs have been found so far only in the salivary glands of Anopheles stephensi and Anopheles funestus, both members of the Cellia subgenus. We report here the gSG6 sequence from five additional anophelines, four species of the An. gambiae complex and Anopheles freeborni, a member of the subgenus Anopheles. We conclude that gSG6 plays some essential blood feeding role and was recruited in the anopheline subfamily most probably after the separation of the lineage which gave origin to Cellia and Anopheles subgenera.
PMCID: PMC3740408  PMID: 19442731
Anopheles gambiae; gSG6; salivary glands; saliva; blood feeding
5.  IgG Responses to Anopheles gambiae Salivary Antigen gSG6 Detect Variation in Exposure to Malaria Vectors and Disease Risk 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40170.
Assessment of exposure to malaria vectors is important to our understanding of spatial and temporal variations in disease transmission and facilitates the targeting and evaluation of control efforts. Recently, an immunogenic Anopheles gambiae salivary protein (gSG6) was identified and proposed as the basis of an immuno-assay determining exposure to Afrotropical malaria vectors. In the present study, IgG responses to gSG6 and 6 malaria antigens (CSP, AMA-1, MSP-1, MSP-3, GLURP R1, and GLURP R2) were compared to Anopheles exposure and malaria incidence in a cohort of children from Korogwe district, Tanzania, an area of moderate and heterogeneous malaria transmission. Anti-gSG6 responses above the threshold for seropositivity were detected in 15% (96/636) of the children, and were positively associated with geographical variations in Anopheles exposure (OR 1.25, CI 1.01–1.54, p = 0.04). Additionally, IgG responses to gSG6 in individual children showed a strong positive association with household level mosquito exposure. IgG levels for all antigens except AMA-1 were associated with the frequency of malaria episodes following sampling. gSG6 seropositivity was strongly positively associated with subsequent malaria incidence (test for trend p = 0.004), comparable to malaria antigens MSP-1 and GLURP R2. Our results show that the gSG6 assay is sensitive to micro-epidemiological variations in exposure to Anopheles mosquitoes, and provides a correlate of malaria risk that is unrelated to immune protection. While the technique requires further evaluation in a range of malaria endemic settings, our findings suggest that the gSG6 assay may have a role in the evaluation and planning of targeted and preventative anti-malaria interventions.
PMCID: PMC3387013  PMID: 22768250
6.  An insight into the sialome of blood feeding Nematocera 
Within the Diptera and outside the suborder Brachycera, the blood feeding habit occurred at least twice, producing the present day sand flies, and the Culicomorpha, including the mosquitoes (Culicidae), black flies (Simulidae), biting midges (Ceratopogonidae) and frog feeding flies (Corethrellidae). Alternatives to this scenario are also discussed. Successful blood feeding requires adaptations to antagonize the vertebrate's mechanisms of blood clotting, platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction, pain and itching, which are triggered by tissue destruction and immune reactions to insect products. Saliva of these insects provides a complex pharmacological armamentarium to block these vertebrate reactions. With the advent of transcriptomics, the sialomes (from the Greek word sialo=saliva) of at least two species of each of these families have been studied (except for the frog feeders), allowing an insight into the diverse pathways leading to today's salivary composition within the Culicomorpha, having the sand flies as an outgroup. This review catalogs 1,288 salivary proteins in 10 generic classes comprising over 150 different protein families, most of which we have no functional knowledge. These proteins and many sequence comparisons are displayed in a hyperlinked spreadsheet that hopefully will stimulate and facilitate the task of functional characterization of these proteins, and their possible use as novel pharmacological agents and epidemiological markers of insect vector exposure.
PMCID: PMC2950210  PMID: 20728537
7.  Wide cross-reactivity between Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus SG6 salivary proteins supports exploitation of gSG6 as a marker of human exposure to major malaria vectors in tropical Africa 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:206.
The Anopheles gambiae gSG6 is an anopheline-specific salivary protein which helps female mosquitoes to efficiently feed on blood. Besides its role in haematophagy, gSG6 is immunogenic and elicits in exposed individuals an IgG response, which may be used as indicator of exposure to the main African malaria vector A. gambiae. However, malaria transmission in tropical Africa is sustained by three main vectors (A. gambiae, Anopheles arabiensis and Anopheles funestus) and a general marker, reflecting exposure to at least these three species, would be especially valuable. The SG6 protein is highly conserved within the A. gambiae species complex whereas the A. funestus homologue, fSG6, is more divergent (80% identity with gSG6). The aim of this study was to evaluate cross-reactivity of human sera to gSG6 and fSG6.
The A. funestus SG6 protein was expressed/purified and the humoral response to gSG6, fSG6 and a combination of the two antigens was compared in a population from a malaria hyperendemic area of Burkina Faso where both vectors were present, although with a large A. gambiae prevalence (>75%). Sera collected at the beginning and at the end of the high transmission/rainy season, as well as during the following low transmission/dry season, were analysed.
According to previous observations, both anti-SG6 IgG level and prevalence decreased during the low transmission/dry season and showed a typical age-dependent pattern. No significant difference in the response to the two antigens was found, although their combined use yielded in most cases higher IgG level.
Comparative analysis of gSG6 and fSG6 immunogenicity to humans suggests the occurrence of a wide cross-reactivity, even though the two proteins carry species-specific epitopes. This study supports the use of gSG6 as reliable indicator of exposure to the three main African malaria vectors, a marker which may be useful to monitor malaria transmission and evaluate vector control measures, especially in conditions of low malaria transmission and/or reduced vector density. The Anopheles stephensi SG6 protein also shares 80% identity with gSG6, suggesting the attractive possibility that the A. gambiae protein may also be useful to assess human exposure to several Asian malaria vectors.
PMCID: PMC3160432  PMID: 21794142
8.  Humoral Response to the Anopheles gambiae Salivary Protein gSG6: A Serological Indicator of Exposure to Afrotropical Malaria Vectors 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17980.
Salivary proteins injected by blood feeding arthropods into their hosts evoke a saliva-specific humoral response which can be useful to evaluate exposure to bites of disease vectors. However, saliva of hematophagous arthropods is a complex cocktail of bioactive factors and its use in immunoassays can be misleading because of potential cross-reactivity to other antigens. Toward the development of a serological marker of exposure to Afrotropical malaria vectors we expressed the Anopheles gambiae gSG6, a small anopheline-specific salivary protein, and we measured the anti-gSG6 IgG response in individuals from a malaria hyperendemic area of Burkina Faso, West Africa. The gSG6 protein was immunogenic and anti-gSG6 IgG levels and/or prevalence increased in exposed individuals during the malaria transmission/rainy season. Moreover, this response dropped during the intervening low transmission/dry season, suggesting it is sensitive enough to detect variation in vector density. Members of the Fulani ethnic group showed higher anti-gSG6 IgG response as compared to Mossi, a result consistent with the stronger immune reactivity reported in this group. Remarkably, anti-gSG6 IgG levels among responders were high in children and gradually declined with age. This unusual pattern, opposite to the one observed with Plasmodium antigens, is compatible with a progressive desensitization to mosquito saliva and may be linked to the continued exposure to bites of anopheline mosquitoes. Overall, the humoral anti-gSG6 IgG response appears a reliable serological indicator of exposure to bites of the main African malaria vectors (An. gambiae, Anopheles arabiensis and, possibly, Anopheles funestus) and it may be exploited for malaria epidemiological studies, development of risk maps and evaluation of anti-vector measures. In addition, the gSG6 protein may represent a powerful model system to get a deeper understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the immune tolerance and progressive desensitization to insect salivary allergens.
PMCID: PMC3060095  PMID: 21437289
9.  Genomic organization and splicing evolution of the doublesex gene, a Drosophila regulator of sexual differentiation, in the dengue and yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti 
In the model system Drosophila melanogaster, doublesex (dsx) is the double-switch gene at the bottom of the somatic sex determination cascade that determines the differentiation of sexually dimorphic traits. Homologues of dsx are functionally conserved in various dipteran species, including the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. They show a striking conservation of sex-specific regulation, based on alternative splicing, and of the encoded sex-specific proteins, which are transcriptional regulators of downstream terminal genes that influence sexual differentiation of cells, tissues and organs.
In this work, we report on the molecular characterization of the dsx homologue in the dengue and yellow fever vector Aedes aegypti (Aeadsx). Aeadsx produces sex-specific transcripts by alternative splicing, which encode isoforms with a high degree of identity to Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster homologues. Interestingly, Aeadsx produces an additional novel female-specific splicing variant. Genomic comparative analyses between the Aedes and Anopheles dsx genes revealed a partial conservation of the exon organization and extensive divergence in the intron lengths. An expression analysis showed that Aeadsx transcripts were present from early stages of development and that sex-specific regulation starts at least from late larval stages. The analysis of the female-specific untranslated region (UTR) led to the identification of putative regulatory cis-elements potentially involved in the sex-specific splicing regulation. The Aedes dsx sex-specific splicing regulation seems to be more complex with the respect of other dipteran species, suggesting slightly novel evolutionary trajectories for its regulation and hence for the recruitment of upstream splicing regulators.
This study led to uncover the molecular evolution of Aedes aegypti dsx splicing regulation with the respect of the more closely related Culicidae Anopheles gambiae orthologue. In Aedes aegypti, the dsx gene is sex-specifically regulated and encodes two female-specific and one male-specific isoforms, all sharing a doublesex/mab-3 (DM) domain-containing N-terminus and different C-termini. The sex-specific regulation is based on a combination of exon skipping, 5' alternative splice site choice and, most likely, alternative polyadenylation. Interestingly, when the Aeadsx gene is compared to the Anopheles dsx ortholog, there are differences in the in silico predicted default and regulated sex-specific splicing events, which suggests that the upstream regulators either are different or act in a slightly different manner. Furthermore, this study is a premise for the future development of transgenic sexing strains in mosquitoes useful for sterile insect technique (SIT) programs.
PMCID: PMC3045327  PMID: 21310052
10.  Analysis of apyrase 5' upstream region validates improved Anopheles gambiae transformation technique 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:24.
Genetic transformation of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae has been successfully achieved in recent years, and represents a potentially powerful tool for researchers. Tissue-, stage- and sex-specific promoters are essential requirements to support the development of new applications for the transformation technique and potential malaria control strategies. During the Plasmodium lifecycle in the invertebrate host, four major mosquito cell types are involved in interactions with the parasite: hemocytes and fat body cells, which provide humoral and cellular components of the innate immune response, midgut and salivary glands representing the epithelial barriers traversed by the parasite during its lifecycle in the mosquito.
We have analyzed the upstream regulatory sequence of the An. gambiae salivary gland-specific apyrase (AgApy) gene in transgenic An. gambiae using a piggyBac transposable element vector marked by a 3xP3 promoter:DsRed gene fusion. Efficient germ-line transformation in An. gambiae mosquitoes was obtained and several integration events in at least three different G0 families were detected. LacZ reporter gene expression was analyzed in three transgenic lines/groups, and in only one group was tissue-specific expression restricted to salivary glands.
Our data describe an efficient genetic transformation of An. gambiae embryos. However, expression from the selected region of the AgApy promoter is weak and position effects may mask tissue- and stage- specific activity in transgenic mosquitoes.
PMCID: PMC2669092  PMID: 19284522
11.  Novel Peptide Marker Corresponding to Salivary Protein gSG6 Potentially Identifies Exposure to Anopheles Bites 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2472.
In order to improve malaria control, and under the aegis of WHO recommendations, many efforts are being devoted to developing new tools for identifying geographic areas with high risk of parasite transmission. Evaluation of the human antibody response to arthropod salivary proteins could be an epidemiological indicator of exposure to vector bites, and therefore to risk of pathogen transmission. In the case of malaria, which is transmitted only by anopheline mosquitoes, maximal specificity could be achieved through identification of immunogenic proteins specific to the Anopheles genus. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the IgG response to the Anopheles gambiae gSG6 protein, from its recombinant form to derived synthetic peptides, could be an immunological marker of exposure specific to Anopheles gambiae bites.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Specific IgG antibodies to recombinant gSG6 protein were observed in children living in a Senegalese area exposed to malaria. With the objective of optimizing Anopheles specificity and reproducibility, we designed five gSG6-based peptide sequences using a bioinformatic approach, taking into consideration i) their potential antigenic properties and ii) the absence of cross-reactivity with protein sequences of other arthropods/organisms. The specific anti-peptide IgG antibody response was evaluated in exposed children. The five gSG6 peptides showed differing antigenic properties, with gSG6-P1 and gSG6-P2 exhibiting the highest antigenicity. However, a significant increase in the specific IgG response during the rainy season and a positive association between the IgG level and the level of exposure to Anopheles gambiae bites was significant only for gSG6-P1.
This step-by-step approach suggests that gSG6-P1 could be an optimal candidate marker for evaluating exposure to Anopheles gambiae bites. This marker could be employed as a geographic indicator, like remote sensing techniques, for mapping the risk of malaria. It could also represent a direct criterion of efficacy in evaluation of vector control strategies.
PMCID: PMC2427200  PMID: 18575604
12.  An annotated catalogue of salivary gland transcripts in the adult female mosquito, Ædes ægypti* 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:6.
Saliva of blood-sucking arthropods contains a cocktail of antihemostatic agents and immunomodulators that help blood feeding. Mosquitoes additionally feed on sugar meals and have specialized regions of their glands containing glycosidases and antimicrobials that might help control bacterial growth in the ingested meals. To expand our knowledge on the salivary cocktail of Ædes ægypti, a vector of dengue and yellow fevers, we analyzed a set of 4,232 expressed sequence tags from cDNA libraries of adult female mosquitoes.
A nonredundant catalogue of 614 transcripts (573 of which are novel) is described, including 136 coding for proteins of a putative secretory nature. Additionally, a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of salivary gland (SG) homogenates followed by tryptic digestion of selected protein bands and MS/MS analysis revealed the expression of 24 proteins. Analysis of tissue-specific transcription of a subset of these genes revealed at least 31 genes whose expression is specific or enriched in female SG, whereas 24 additional genes were expressed in female SG and in males but not in other female tissues. Most of the 55 proteins coded by these SG transcripts have no known function and represent high-priority candidates for expression and functional analysis as antihemostatic or antimicrobial agents. An unexpected finding is the occurrence of four protein families specific to SG that were probably a product of horizontal transfer from prokaryotic organisms to mosquitoes.
Overall, this paper contributes to the novel identification of 573 new transcripts, or near 3% of the Æ. ægypti proteome assuming a 20,000-protein set, and to the best-described sialome of any blood-feeding insect.
PMCID: PMC1790711  PMID: 17204158

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