Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Transcriptome of the adult female malaria mosquito vector Anopheles albimanus

Jesús Martínez-Barnetche1*, Rosa E Gómez-Barreto1, Marbella Ovilla-Muñoz1, Juan Téllez-Sosa1, David E García López1, Rhoel R Dinglasan2, Ceereena Ubaida Mohien23, Robert M MacCallum4, Seth N Redmond5, John G Gibbons6, Antonis Rokas6, Carlos A Machado7, Febe E Cazares-Raga8, Lilia González-Cerón9, Salvador Hernández-Martínez1 and Mario H Rodríguez López1

Author affiliations

1 Centro de Investigación sobre Enfermedades Infecciosas, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México

2 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA

3 Department of Molecular & Comparative Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

4 Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

5 Pasteur Institut, 28 Rue Du Docteur Roux, Paris, 75015, France

6 Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

7 Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

8 Departamento de Infectómica y Patogénesis Molecular, Cinvestav-IPN, México, DF, México

9 Centro Regional de Investigación en Salud Pública, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Tapachula, Chiapas, México

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2012, 13:207  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-207

Published: 30 May 2012



Human Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Transmission is a complex phenomenon involving biological and environmental factors of humans, parasites and mosquitoes. Among more than 500 anopheline species, only a few species from different branches of the mosquito evolutionary tree transmit malaria, suggesting that their vectorial capacity has evolved independently. Anopheles albimanus (subgenus Nyssorhynchus) is an important malaria vector in the Americas. The divergence time between Anopheles gambiae, the main malaria vector in Africa, and the Neotropical vectors has been estimated to be 100 My. To better understand the biological basis of malaria transmission and to develop novel and effective means of vector control, there is a need to explore the mosquito biology beyond the An. gambiae complex.


We sequenced the transcriptome of the An. albimanus adult female. By combining Sanger, 454 and Illumina sequences from cDNA libraries derived from the midgut, cuticular fat body, dorsal vessel, salivary gland and whole body, we generated a single, high-quality assembly containing 16,669 transcripts, 92% of which mapped to the An. darlingi genome and covered 90% of the core eukaryotic genome. Bidirectional comparisons between the An. gambiae, An. darlingi and An. albimanus predicted proteomes allowed the identification of 3,772 putative orthologs. More than half of the transcripts had a match to proteins in other insect vectors and had an InterPro annotation. We identified several protein families that may be relevant to the study of Plasmodium-mosquito interaction. An open source transcript annotation browser called GDAV (Genome-Delinked Annotation Viewer) was developed to facilitate public access to the data generated by this and future transcriptome projects.


We have explored the adult female transcriptome of one important New World malaria vector, An. albimanus. We identified protein-coding transcripts involved in biological processes that may be relevant to the Plasmodium lifecycle and can serve as the starting point for searching targets for novel control strategies. Our data increase the available genomic information regarding An. albimanus several hundred-fold, and will facilitate molecular research in medical entomology, evolutionary biology, genomics and proteomics of anopheline mosquito vectors. The data reported in this manuscript is accessible to the community via the VectorBase website ( webcite).

Anopheles albimanus; Transcriptome; Malaria; RNA-Seq