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Female Anopheles gambiae antennae: increased transcript accumulation of the mosquito-specific odorant-binding-protein OBP2

Seth A Hoffman123, Lakshminarayanan Aravind2 and Soundarapandian Velmurugan1*

Author Affiliations

1 Sanaria Inc., 9800 Medical Center Dr., Rockville, MD 20850, USA

2 National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

3 Cornell University, 1 Forest Park Lane, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:27  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-27

Published: 6 February 2012

Abstract

Background

New interventions are required to optimally and sustainably control the Anopheles sp. mosquitoes that transmit malaria and filariasis. The mosquito olfactory system is important in host seeking (transmission) and mate finding (reproduction). Understanding olfactory function could lead to development of control strategies based on repelling parasite-carrying mosquitoes or attracting them into a fatal trap.

Findings

Our initial focus is on odorant binding proteins with differential transcript accumulation between female and male mosquitoes. We report that the odorant binding protein, OBP2 (AGAP003306), had increased expression in the antennae of female vs. male Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (G3 strain). The increased expression in antennae of females of this gene by quantitative RT-PCR was 4.2 to 32.3 fold in three independent biological replicates and two technical replicate experiments using A. gambiae from two different laboratories. OBP2 is a member of the vast OBP superfamily of insect odorant binding proteins and belongs to the predominantly dipteran clade that includes the Culex oviposition kairomone-binding OBP1. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that its orthologs are present across culicid mosquitoes and are likely to play a conserved role in recognizing a molecule that might be critical for female behavior.

Conclusions

OBP2 has increased mRNA transcript accumulation in the antennae of female as compared to male A. gambiae. This molecule and related molecules may play an important role in female mosquito feeding and breeding behavior. This finding may be a step toward providing a foundation for understanding mosquito olfactory requirements and developing control strategies based on reducing mosquito feeding and breeding success.

Keywords:
Anopheles gambiae; Odorant; Binding; Protein; Antennae