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Protein expression in the midgut of sugar-fed Aedes albopictus females

Leonardo Saboia-Vahia1, Andre Borges-Veloso1, Patricia Cuervo2, Magno Junqueira5, Camila Mesquita-Rodrigues1, Constanca Britto1, Gilberto Barbosa Domont3* and Jose Batista De Jesus14*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Biologia Molecular e Doenças Endêmicas, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Pesquisa em Leishmaniose, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

3 Unidade de Proteômica, Laboratório de Química de Proteínas, Instituto de Química, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

4 Departamento de Engenharia de Biossistemas, Universidade Federal de São João Del Rey, Minas Gerais, Brazil

5 Laboratório de Bioquímica e Química Proteínas, Departamento de Biologia Celular, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, Brazil

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:290  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-290

Published: 11 December 2012



Aedes albopictus is a vector for several fatal arboviruses in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. The midgut of the mosquito is the first barrier that pathogens must overcome to establish infection and represents one of the main immunologically active sites of the insect. Nevertheless, little is known about the proteins involved in the defense against pathogens, and even in the processing of food, and the detoxification of metabolites. The identification of proteins exclusively expressed in the midgut is the first step in understanding the complex physiology of this tissue and can provide insight into the mechanisms of pathogen-vector interaction. However, identification of the locally expressed proteins presents a challenge because the Ae. albopictus genome has not been sequenced.


In this study, two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE) was combined with liquid chromatography in line with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and data mining to identify the major proteins in the midgut of sugar-fed Ae. albopictus females.


Fifty-six proteins were identified by sequence similarity to entries from the Ae. aegypti genome. In addition, two hypothetical proteins were experimentally confirmed. According to the gene ontology analysis, the identified proteins were classified into 16 clusters of biological processes. Use of the STRING database to investigate protein functional associations revealed five functional networks among the identified proteins, including a network for carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, a group associated with ATP production and a network of proteins that interact during detoxification of toxic free radicals, among others. This analysis allowed the assignment of a potential role for proteins with unknown function based on their functional association with other characterized proteins.


Our findings represent the first proteome map of the Ae. albopictus midgut and denotes the first steps towards the description of a comprehensive proteome map of this vector. In addition, the data contributes to the functional annotation of Aedes spp. genomes using mass spectrometry-based proteomics data combined with complementary gene prediction methods.

Aedes albopictus; Culicidae; Midgut; Proteomics; Proteome; Two-dimensional electrophoresis; Mass spectrometry