Email updates

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

Open Access Research article

Exploring the midgut transcriptome of Phlebotomus papatasi: comparative analysis of expression profiles of sugar-fed, blood-fed and Leishmania major-infected sandflies

Marcelo Ramalho-Ortigão12, Ryan C Jochim13, Jennifer M Anderson1, Phillip G Lawyer4, Van-My Pham1, Shaden Kamhawi1 and Jesus G Valenzuela1*

Author Affiliations

1 Vector Molecular Biology Unit, Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

2 Center for Tropical Disease Research and Training, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

3 Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

4 Intracellular Parasite Biology Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2007, 8:300  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-300

Published: 30 August 2007

Abstract

Background

In sandflies, the blood meal is responsible for the induction of several physiologic processes that culminate in egg development and maturation. During blood feeding, infected sandflies are also able to transmit the parasite Leishmania to a suitable host. Many blood-induced molecules play significant roles during Leishmania development in the sandfly midgut, including parasite killing within the endoperitrophic space. In this work, we randomly sequenced transcripts from three distinct high quality full-length female Phlebotomus papatasi midgut-specific cDNA libraries from sugar-fed, blood-fed and Leishmania major-infected sandflies. Furthermore, we compared the transcript expression profiles from the three different cDNA libraries by customized bioinformatics analysis and validated these findings by semi-quantitative PCR and real-time PCR.

Results

Transcriptome analysis of 4010 cDNA clones resulted in the identification of the most abundant P. papatasi midgut-specific transcripts. The identified molecules included those with putative roles in digestion and peritrophic matrix formation, among others. Moreover, we identified sandfly midgut transcripts that are expressed only after a blood meal, such as microvilli associated-like protein (PpMVP1, PpMVP2 and PpMVP3), a peritrophin (PpPer1), trypsin 4 (PpTryp4), chymotrypsin PpChym2, and two unknown proteins. Of interest, many of these overabundant transcripts such as PpChym2, PpMVP1, PpMVP2, PpPer1 and PpPer2 were of lower abundance when the sandfly was given a blood meal in the presence of L. major.

Conclusion

This tissue-specific transcriptome analysis provides a comprehensive look at the repertoire of transcripts present in the midgut of the sandfly P. papatasi. Furthermore, the customized bioinformatic analysis allowed us to compare and identify the overall transcript abundance from sugar-fed, blood-fed and Leishmania-infected sandflies. The suggested upregulation of specific transcripts in a blood-fed cDNA library were validated by real-time PCR, suggesting that this customized bioinformatic analysis is a powerful and accurate tool useful in analysing expression profiles from different cDNA libraries. Additionally, the findings presented in this work suggest that the Leishmania parasite is modulating key enzymes or proteins in the gut of the sandfly that may be beneficial for its establishment and survival.