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Open Access Research article

Transcriptomic and functional analysis of the Anopheles gambiae salivary gland in relation to blood feeding

Suchismita Das1, Andrea Radtke1, Young-Jun Choi2, Antonio M Mendes13, Jesus G Valenzuela4 and George Dimopoulos1*

Author Affiliations

1 W. Harry Feinstone Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205-2179, USA

2 Department of Pathobiological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1656 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA

3 Imperial College London, Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, South Kensington Campus, London, UK

4 Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:566  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-566

Published: 14 October 2010

Abstract

Background

The Anopheles gambiae salivary glands play a major role in malaria transmission and express a variety of bioactive components that facilitate blood-feeding by preventing platelet aggregation, blood clotting, vasodilatation, and inflammatory and other reactions at the probing site on the vertebrate host.

Results

We have performed a global transcriptome analysis of the A. gambiae salivary gland response to blood-feeding, to identify candidate genes that are involved in hematophagy. A total of 4,978 genes were found to be transcribed in this tissue. A comparison of salivary gland transcriptomes prior to and after blood-feeding identified 52 and 41 transcripts that were significantly up-regulated and down-regulated, respectively. Ten genes were further selected to assess their role in the blood-feeding process using RNAi-mediated gene silencing methodology. Depletion of the salivary gland genes encoding D7L2, anophelin, peroxidase, the SG2 precursor, and a 5'nucleotidase gene significantly increased probing time of A. gambiae mosquitoes and thereby their capacity to blood-feed.

Conclusions

The salivary gland transcriptome comprises approximately 38% of the total mosquito transcriptome and a small proportion of it is dynamically changing already at two hours in response to blood feeding. A better understanding of the salivary gland transcriptome and its function can contribute to the development of pathogen transmission control strategies and the identification of medically relevant bioactive compounds.