Background: Malaria is a devastating infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites transmitted through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. Salivary glands are the only mosquito tissue invaded by Plasmodium sporozoites, being a key stage for the effective parasite transmission, making the study of Anopheles sialome highly relevant. Methods: RNA-sequencing was used to compare differential gene expression in salivary glands of uninfected and Plasmodium berghei-infected Anopheles coluzzii mosquitoes. RNA-seq results were validated by quantitative RT-PCR. The transmembrane glucose transporter gene AGAP007752 was selected for functional analysis by RNA interference. The effect of gene silencing on infection level was evaluated. The putative function and tertiary structure of the protein was assessed. Results: RNA-seq data showed that 2588 genes were differentially expressed in mosquitoes salivary glands in response to P. berghei infection, being 1578 upregulated and 1010 downregulated. Metabolism, Immunity, Replication/Transcription/Translation, Proteolysis and Transport were the mosquito gene functional classes more affected by parasite infection. Endopeptidase coding genes were the most abundant within the differentially expressed genes in infected salivary glands (P∈<∈0.001). Based on its putative function and expression level, the transmembrane glucose transporter gene, AGAP007752, was selected for functional analysis by RNA interference. The results demonstrated that the number of sporozoites was 44.3 % lower in mosquitoes fed on infected mice after AGAPP007752 gene knockdown when compared to control (P∈<∈0.01). Conclusions: Our hypothesis is that the protein encoded by the gene AGAPP007752 may play a role on An. coluzzii salivary glands infection by Plasmodium parasite, working as a sporozoite receptor and/or promoting a favorable environment for the capacity of sporozoites.
Pinheiro-Silva, R., Borges, L., Coelho, L. P., Cabezas-Cruz, A., Valdés, J. J., Do Rosário, V., … Domingos, A. (2015). Gene expression changes in the salivary glands of Anopheles coluzzii elicited by Plasmodium berghei infection. Parasites and Vectors, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-1079-8