Monday, December 11, 2006

Molecular characterization of the opsin visual receptors in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti

Kyanne R. Reidenbach,, David G. Hogenkamp,, Janice A. Pagel,, and Catherine A. Hill, Purdue University, Department of Entomology, 901 W. State Street, West Lafayette, IN

The mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the principle vector of the viruses causing Dengue and Yellow fever, and therefore the study of this insect has vast implications for human health. Genomic studies of mosquito vectors provide a wealth of information that can in turn be used to develop novel control strategies. The recent sequencing of the Aedes genome provides considerable opportunity for researchers to identify targets that may aid in mosquito control. One possible target is the visual receptors, which undoubtedly play a role in finding a host, mate location, and oviposition behaviors. We undertook a genomic based approach to the identification of opsins, the G-protein coupled receptors responsible for light detection. Annotation of these putative genes was carried out using the known orthologs of another Culicid mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, as well as Drosophila melanogaster. To begin to study this family of genes, expression studies were undertaken using a variety of molecular techniques. This work provides a basis for understanding the processes involved in mosquito vision and ultimately lays a foundation for future studies on visual responses that could lead to novel control methods.

Species 1: Diptera Culicidae Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito)