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1.  An Insight into the Sialotranscriptome of Triatoma matogrossensis, a Kissing Bug Associated with Fogo Selvagem in South America 
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.
PMCID: PMC3366513  PMID: 22665609
2.  An Insight Into the Sialotranscriptome of Triatoma rubida (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) 
Journal of medical entomology  2012;49(3):563-572.
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 and
PMCID: PMC3544468  PMID: 22679863
Chagas disease; vector biology; salivary gland; sialome; transcriptome
3.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome and proteome of the coarse bontlegged tick, Hyalomma marginatum rufipes 
Journal of proteomics  2011;74(12):2892-2908.
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.
PMCID: PMC3215792  PMID: 21851864
Tick; hematophagy; salivary glands; sialome
4.  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
5.  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
6.  Insight into the Salivary Transcriptome and Proteome of Dipetalogaster maxima 
Journal of proteome research  2011;10(2):669-679.
Dipetalogaster maximais a blood-sucking Hemiptera that inhabits sylvatic areas in Mexico. It usually takes its blood meal from lizards, but following human population growth, it invaded suburban areas, feeding also on humans and domestic animals. Hematophagous insect salivary glands produce potent pharmacologic compounds that counteract host hemostasis, including anticlotting, antiplatelet, and vasodilatory molecules. To obtain further insight into the salivary biochemical and pharmacologic complexity of this insect, a cDNA library from its salivary glands was randomly sequenced. Salivary proteins were also submitted to one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (1DE and 2DE) followed by mass spectrometry analysis. We present the analysis of a set of 2728 cDNA sequences, 1375 of which coded for proteins of a putative secretory nature. The saliva 2DE proteome displayed approximately 150 spots. The mass spectrometry analysis revealed mainly lipocalins, pallidipins, antigen 5-like proteins, and apyrases. The redundancy of sequence identification of saliva-secreted proteins suggests that proteins are present in multiple isoforms or derive from gene duplications. Supplemental files can be downloaded from and
PMCID: PMC3035102  PMID: 21058630
Saliva; hematophagy; transcriptome; proteome; triatomine; D. maxima
7.  An insight into the sialome of the bed bug, Cimex lectularius 
Journal of proteome research  2010;9(8):3820-3831.
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 and
PMCID: PMC2917537  PMID: 20441151
Bedbug; saliva; salivary transcriptome; salivary proteome
8.  An Insight into the Sialotranscriptome of Simulium nigrimanum, a Black Fly Associated with Fogo Selvagem in South America 
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.
PMCID: PMC2877412  PMID: 20519601
9.  An insight into the sialotranscriptome of the seed-feeding bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus 
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
PMCID: PMC2904962  PMID: 17681229
Feeding; Phytophagy; Salivary glands; Sialotranscriptome
10.  An Insight into the Sialome of the Black Fly, Simulium vittatum 
Journal of proteome research  2009;8(3):1474-1488.
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 and
PMCID: PMC2778207  PMID: 19166301
Simulium vittatum; black fly; sialotranscriptomes; salivary gland transcriptome; sialome; proteome; hematophagy; onchocerciasis
11.  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
12.  An insight into the salivary transcriptome and proteome of the soft tick and vector of epizootic bovine abortion, Ornithodoros coriaceus 
Journal of proteomics  2008;71(5):493-512.
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.
PMCID: PMC2617759  PMID: 18725333
Ornithodoros coriaceus; Ixodidae; Argasidae; Sialotranscriptome; Salivary gland transcriptome; Sialome; Tick salivary gland; Ixolaris
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.  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
15.  Comparative sialomics between hard and soft ticks: Implications for the evolution of blood-feeding behavior 
Ticks evolved various mechanisms to modulate their host’s hemostatic and immune defenses. Differences in the anti-hemostatic repertoires suggest that hard and soft ticks evolved anti-hemostatic mechanisms independently, but raise questions on the conservation of salivary gland proteins in the ancestral tick lineage. To address this issue the sialome (salivary gland secretory proteome) from the soft tick, Argas monolakensis was determined by proteomic analysis and cDNA library construction of salivary glands from fed and unfed adult female ticks. The sialome is composed of ~130 secretory proteins, of which the most abundant protein folds are the lipocalin, BTSP, BPTI and metalloprotease families which also comprise the most abundant proteins found in the salivary glands. Comparative analysis indicates that the major protein families are conserved in hard and soft ticks. Phylogenetic analysis shows, however, that most gene duplications are lineage specific, indicating that the protein families analyzed possibly evolved most of their functions after divergence of the two major tick families. In conclusion, the ancestral tick may have possessed a simple (few members for each family), but diverse (many different protein families) salivary gland protein domain repertoire.
PMCID: PMC2211429  PMID: 18070664
Argas; blood-feeding; evolution; proteome; sialome
16.  An insight into the sialome of Anopheles funestus reveals an emerging pattern in anopheline salivary protein families 
Anopheles funestus, together with Anopheles gambiae, is responsible for most malaria transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about molecular aspects of its biology. To investigate the salivary repertoire of this mosquito, we randomly sequenced 916 clones from a salivary-gland cDNA library from adult female F1 offspring of field-caught An. funestus. Thirty-three protein sequences, mostly full-length transcripts, are predicted to be secreted salivary proteins. We additionally describe 25 full-length housekeeping-associated transcripts. In accumulating mosquito sialotranscriptome information—which includes An. gambiae, Anopheles stephensi, Anopheles darlingi, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus, and now An. funestus—a pattern is emerging. First, ubiquitous protein families are recruited for a salivary role, such as members of the antigen-5 family and enzymes of nucleotide and carbohydrate catabolism. Second, a group of protein families exclusive to blood-feeding Nematocera includes the abundantly expressed D7 proteins also found in sand flies and Culicoides. A third group of proteins, only found in Culicidae, includes the 30-kDa allergen family and several mucins. Finally, ten protein and peptide families, five of them multigenic, are exclusive to anophelines. Among these proteins may reside good epidemiological markers to measure human exposure to anopheline species such as An. funestus and An. gambiae.
PMCID: PMC1853278  PMID: 17244545
Malaria; Hematophagy; Salivary glands; Vector; Saliva
17.  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

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