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Sci. Signal., 5 October 2010
Vol. 3, Issue 142, p. ec311
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3142ec311]


Genomics Closing the Vector Circle

Caroline Ash

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

The genome sequence of Culex quinquefasciatus offers a representative of the third major genus of mosquito disease vectors for comparative analysis. In a major international effort, Arensburger et al. uncovered divergences in the C. quinquefasciatus genome compared with the representatives of the other two genera, Aedes aegypti and Anopheles gambiae. The main difference noted is the expansion of numbers of genes, particularly for immunity, oxidoreductive functions, and digestive enzymes, which may reflect specific aspects of the Culex life cycle. Bartholomay et al. explored infection-response genes in Culex in more depth and uncovered 500 immune response–related genes, similar to the numbers seen in Aedes but fewer than seen in Anopheles or the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The higher numbers of genes were attributed partly to expansions in those encoding serpins, C-type lectins, and fibrinogen-related proteins, consistent with greater immune surveillance and associated signaling needed to monitor the dangers of breeding in polluted, urbanized environments. Transcriptome analysis confirmed that inoculation with unfamiliar bacteria prompted strong immune responses in Culex. The worm and virus pathogens that the mosquitoes transmit naturally provoked little immune activation, however, suggesting that tolerance has evolved to any damage caused by replication of the pathogens in the insects.

P. Arensburger, K. Megy, R. M. Waterhouse, J. Abrudan, P. Amedeo, B. Antelo, L. Bartholomay, S. Bidwell, E. Caler, F. Camara, C. L. Campbell, K. S. Campbell, C. Casola, M. T. Castro, I. Chandramouliswaran, S. B. Chapman, S. Christley, J. Costas, E. Eisenstadt, C. Feschotte, C. Fraser-Liggett, R. Guigo, B. Haas, M. Hammond, B. S. Hansson, J. Hemingway, S. R. Hill, C. Howarth, R. Ignell, R. C. Kennedy, C. D. Kodira, N. F. Lobo, C. Mao, G. Mayhew, K. Michel, A. Mori, N. Liu, H. Naveira, V. Nene, N. Nguyen, M. D. Pearson, E. J. Pritham, D. Puiu, Y. Qi, H. Ranson, J. M. C. Ribeiro, H. M. Roberston, D. W. Severson, M. Shumway, M. Stanke, R. L. Strausberg, C. Sun, G. Sutton, Z. Tu, J. M. C. Tubio, M. F. Unger, D. L. Vanlandingham, A. J. Vilella, O. White, J. R. White, C. S. Wondji, J. Wortman, E. M. Zdobnov, B. Birren, B. M. Christensen, F. H. Collins, A. Cornel, G. Dimopoulos, L. I. Hannick, S. Higgs, G. C. Lanzaro, D. Lawson, N. H. Lee, M. A. T. Muskavitch, A. S. Raikhel, P. W. Atkinson, Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for mosquito comparative genomics. Science 330, 86–88 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

L. C. Bartholomay, R. M. Waterhouse, G. F. Mayhew, C. L. Campbell, K. Michel, Z. Zou, J. L. Ramirez, S. Das, K. Alvarez, P. Arensburger, B. Bryant, S. B. Chapman, Y. Dong, S. M. Erickson, S. H. P. P. Karunaratne, V. Kokoza, C. D. Kodira, P. Pignatelli, S. W. Shin, D. L. Vanlandingham, P. W. Atkinson, B. Birren, G. K. Christophides, R. J. Clem, J. Hemingway, S. Higgs, K. Megy, H. Ranson, E. M. Zdobnov, A. S. Raikhel, B. M. Christensen, G. Dimopoulos, M. A. T. Muskavitch, Pathogenomics of Culex quinquefasciatus and meta-analysis of infection responses to diverse pathogens. Science 330, 88–90 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: C. Ash, Closing the Vector Circle. Sci. Signal. 3, ec311 (2010).

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