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Gene expression patterns associated with blood-feeding in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Ali N Dana1, Young S Hong13, Marcia K Kern1, Maureen E Hillenmeyer1, Brent W Harker1, Neil F Lobo1, James R Hogan1, Patricia Romans2 and Frank H Collins1*

  • * Corresponding author: Frank H Collins

  • † Equal contributors

Author affiliations

1 Center for Tropical Disease Research and Training, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA

2 Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G5, Canada

3 Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Genomics 2005, 6:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-6-5

Published: 14 January 2005



Blood feeding, or hematophagy, is a behavior exhibited by female mosquitoes required both for reproduction and for transmission of pathogens. We determined the expression patterns of 3,068 ESTs, representing ~2,000 unique gene transcripts using cDNA microarrays in adult female Anopheles gambiae at selected times during the first two days following blood ingestion, at 5 and 30 min during a 40 minute blood meal and at 0, 1, 3, 5, 12, 16, 24 and 48 hours after completion of the blood meal and compared their expression to transcript levels in mosquitoes with access only to a sugar solution.


In blood-fed mosquitoes, 413 unique transcripts, approximately 25% of the total, were expressed at least two-fold above or below their levels in the sugar-fed mosquitoes, at one or more time points. These differentially expressed gene products were clustered using k-means clustering into Early Genes, Middle Genes, and Late Genes, containing 144, 130, and 139 unique transcripts, respectively. Several genes from each group were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR in order to validate the microarray results.


The expression patterns and annotation of the genes in these three groups (Early, Middle, and Late genes) are discussed in the context of female mosquitoes' physiological responses to blood feeding, including blood digestion, peritrophic matrix formation, egg development, and immunity.