The accumulation of specific mRNAs following multiple blood meals in Anopheles gambiae.
Nirmala X., Marinotti O., James AA.
One approach to genetic control of transmission of the parasites that cause human malaria is based on expressing effector genes in mosquitoes that disable the pathogens. Endogenous mosquito promoter and other cis-acting DNA sequences are needed to direct the optimal tissue-, stage- and sex-specific expression of the effector molecules. The mRNA accumulation profiles of eight different genes expressed specifically in the midgut, salivary glands or fat body tissues of the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, were characterized as a measure of their suitability to direct the expression of effector molecules designed to disable specific stages of the parasites. RT-PCR techniques were used to determine the abundance of the gene products and their duration following multiple blood meals. Transcription from the midgut-expressed carboxypeptidase-encoding gene, AgCP, follows a cyclical, blood-inducible expression pattern with maximum accumulation every 3 h post blood meal. Other midgut-expressed genes encoding a trypsin and chymotrypsin, Antryp2 and Anchym1, respectively, and the fat body-expressed genes, Vg1 and Cathepsin, also show a blood-inducible pattern of expression with maximum accumulation 24 h after every blood meal. Expression of the Lipophorin gene in the fat body and apyrase and D7-related genes (AgApy and D7r2) in the salivary glands is constitutive and not significantly affected by blood meals. Promoters of the midgut- and fat body-expressed genes may lead to maximum accumulation of antiparasite effector molecule transcripts after multiple blood meals. The multiple feeding behaviour of An. gambiae thus can be an advantage to express high levels of antiparasite effector molecules to counteract the parasites throughout most of adult development.