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1.  The Salivary Gland Transcriptome of the Eastern Tree Hole Mosquito, Ochlerotatus triseriatus 
Journal of Medical Entomology  2010;47(3):376-386.
Saliva of blood-sucking arthropods contains a complex mixture of peptides that affect their host’s hemostasis, inflammation, and immunity. These activities can also modify the site of pathogen delivery and increase disease transmission. Saliva also induces hosts to mount an antisaliva immune response that can lead to skin allergies or even anaphylaxis. Accordingly, knowledge of the salivary repertoire, or sialome, of a mosquito is useful to provide a knowledge platform to mine for novel pharmacological activities, to develop novel vaccine targets for vector-borne diseases, and to develop epidemiological markers of vector exposure and candidate desensitization vaccines. The mosquito Ochlerotatus triseriatus is a vector of La Crosse virus and produces allergy in humans. In this work, a total of 1,575 clones randomly selected from an adult female O. triseriatus salivary gland cDNA library was sequenced and used to assemble a database that yielded 731 clusters of related sequences, 560 of which were singletons. Primer extension experiments were performed in selected clones to further extend sequence coverage, allowing for the identification of 159 protein sequences, 66 of which code for putative secreted proteins. Supplemental spreadsheets containing these data are available at and
PMCID: PMC3394432  PMID: 20496585
mosquito; salivary gland; sialome; transcriptome; La Crosse virus
2.  Anopheles gambiae Antiviral Immune Response to Systemic O'nyong-nyong Infection 
Mosquito-borne viral diseases cause significant burden in much of the developing world. Although host-virus interactions have been studied extensively in the vertebrate host, little is known about mosquito responses to viral infection. In contrast to mosquitoes of the Aedes and Culex genera, Anopheles gambiae, the principal vector of human malaria, naturally transmits very few arboviruses, the most important of which is O'nyong-nyong virus (ONNV). Here we have investigated the A. gambiae immune response to systemic ONNV infection using forward and reverse genetic approaches.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We have used DNA microarrays to profile the transcriptional response of A. gambiae inoculated with ONNV and investigate the antiviral function of candidate genes through RNAi gene silencing assays. Our results demonstrate that A. gambiae responses to systemic viral infection involve genes covering all aspects of innate immunity including pathogen recognition, modulation of immune signalling, complement-mediated lysis/opsonisation and other immune effector mechanisms. Patterns of transcriptional regulation and co-infections of A. gambiae with ONNV and the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei suggest that hemolymph immune responses to viral infection are diverted away from melanisation. We show that four viral responsive genes encoding two putative recognition receptors, a galectin and an MD2-like receptor, and two effector lysozymes, function in limiting viral load.
This study is the first step in elucidating the antiviral mechanisms of A. gambiae mosquitoes, and has revealed interesting differences between A. gambiae and other invertebrates. Our data suggest that mechanisms employed by A. gambiae are distinct from described invertebrate antiviral immunity to date, and involve the complement-like branch of the humoral immune response, supressing the melanisation response that is prominent in anti-parasitic immunity. The antiviral immune response in A. gambiae is thus composed of some key conserved mechanisms to target viral infection such as RNAi but includes other diverse and possibly species-specific mechanisms.
Author Summary
Mosquito-borne viral diseases are found across the globe and are responsible for numerous severe human infections. In order to develop novel methods for prevention and treatment of these diseases, detailed understanding of the biology of viral infection and transmission is required. Little is known about invertebrate responses to infection in mosquito hosts. In this study we used a model system of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes and O'nyong-nyong virus to study mosquito immune responses to infection. We examined the global transcriptional responses of A. gambiae to viral infection of the mosquito blood equivalent (the hemolymph) identifying a number of genes with immune functions that are switched on or off in response to infection, including complement-like proteins that circulate in the mosquito hemolymph. The switching on of these genes combined with co-infection experiments with malaria parasites suggests that viral infection inhibits the melanisation pathway. Through silencing the function of a selection of viral responsive genes, we identified four genes that have roles in A. gambiae anti-viral immunity; two putative recognition receptors (a galectin and an MD2-like receptor); two effector lysozymes. These molecules have previously non-described roles in antiviral immunity, and suggest uncharacterised mechanisms for targeting viral infection in A. gambiae mosquitoes.
PMCID: PMC3302841  PMID: 22428080
3.  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

Results 1-3 (3)