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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 89-97

Transcriptional responses of attractin gene in the mosquito Anopheles culicifacies: A synergistic neuro-olfactory regulation

1 Laboratory of Host-Parasite Interaction Studies, ICMR–National Institute of Malaria Research; Department of Biotechnology, Delhi Technological University, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Biotechnology, Delhi Technological University, New Delhi, India
3 Laboratory of Host-Parasite Interaction Studies, ICMR–National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajnikant Dixit
Scientist ‘D’, Laboratory of Host-Parasite Interaction Studies, ICMR–National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi–110 077
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.242569

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Background & objectives: Attractin, is a large multi-domain protein which has regulatory functions in multiple physiological processes and thus have strong therapeutic potential. In invertebrates, it was first identified as a water-borne protein pheromone that plays important role in chemical communication and coordinates reproductive activities. But its role in mosquitoes/insects remains unknown. Our unexpected discovery of attractin homolog from the olfactory tissue of Anopheles culicifacies mosquito prompted us to investigate the possible role of Ac-attractin (Ac-atrn) in diverse behavioural responses, e.g. feeding, mating and other non-genetic stresses. Methods: A homology search analysis was performed to identify the full length attractin (Ac-atrn) gene of Anopheles culicifacies mosquito. To unravel its molecular function during external and internal stresses, extensive real-time PCR was performed in the neuro-olfactory tissues of the adult mosquitoes as well as in the larval stages. Further, a behavioural assay was conducted to elucidate its role in mosquitoes mating behaviour. Results: The results indicated that Ac-atrn is a 3942 bp long transcript which encodes a 1313 amino acid protein, having multiple domains including CUB, EGF, Keltch, etc, with 80–90% homology to other insect/mosquito homologs. Ac-atrn gene was dominantly expressed in the young larvae and its expression was elevated in response to the fresh food supply in the starved larvae. Cold stress temporarily arrested the expression of Ac-atrn gene. In case of adult mosquitoes, olfactory and brain tissue showed relatively higher expression of Ac-atrn than reproductive organs. Although, starvation did not yield significant changes in olfactory tissues, but aging and nutritional stress modulated Ac-atrn expression in the brain tissue. Furthermore, a circadian rhythm dependent change in the expression of Ac-atrn of virgin and mated mosquitoes (both sexes), indicates that Ac-atrn might also have a pheromone guided role during swarm formation and mating behaviour. Interpretation & conclusion: The relative expression profiling of Ac-atrn gene in the larvae during nutritional and cold stress suggested its possible role in mediating chemical communication towards the food source and in thermal regulation of young larvae. Similarly, it might have crucial regulatory role in the stress management and survival of adult mosquitoes. The results revealed that Ac-atrn gene is a global regulator of many physiological processes in mosquitoes including stress response and mating behaviour and thus might be a potential target to design novel intervention strategy against mosquitoes.

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