Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Extensive circadian and light regulation of the transcriptome in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Samuel SC Rund1, James E Gentile2 and Giles E Duffield1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological Sciences and Eck Institute for Global Health, Galvin Life Science Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN 46556, USA

2 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Fitzpatrick Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN 46556, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2013, 14:218  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-218

Published: 3 April 2013



Mosquitoes exhibit 24 hr rhythms in flight activity, feeding, reproduction and development. To better understand the molecular basis for these rhythms in the nocturnal malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, we have utilized microarray analysis on time-of-day specific collections of mosquitoes over 48 hr to explore the coregulation of gene expression rhythms by the circadian clock and light, and compare these with the 24 hr rhythmic gene expression in the diurnal Aedes aegypti dengue vector mosquito.


In time courses from An. gambiae head and body collected under light:dark cycle (LD) and constant dark (DD) conditions, we applied three algorithms that detect sinusoidal patterns and an algorithm that detects spikes in expression. This revealed across four experimental conditions 393 probes newly scored as rhythmic. These genes correspond to functions such as metabolic detoxification, immunity and nutrient sensing. This includes glutathione S-transferase GSTE5, whose expression pattern and chromosomal location are shared with other genes, suggesting shared chromosomal regulation; and pulsatile expression of the gene encoding CYP6M2, a cytochrome P450 that metabolizes pyrethroid insecticides. We explored the interaction of light and the circadian clock and highlight the regulation of odorant binding proteins (OBPs), important components of the olfactory system. We reveal that OBPs have unique expression patterns as mosquitoes make the transition from LD to DD conditions. We compared rhythmic expression between An. gambiae and Ae. aegypti heads collected under LD conditions using a single cosine fitting algorithm, and report distinct similarities and differences in the temporal regulation of genes involved in tRNA priming, the vesicular-type ATPase, olfaction and vision between the two species.


These data build on our previous analyses of time-of-day specific regulation of the An. gambiae transcriptome to reveal additional rhythmic genes, an improved understanding of the co-regulation of rhythms in gene expression by the circadian clock and by light, and an understanding of the time-of-day specific regulation of some of these rhythmic processes in comparison with a different species of mosquito. Improved understanding of biological timing at the molecular level that underlies key physiological aspects of mosquito vectors may prove to be important to successful implementation of established and novel insect control methods.