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The Aquaporin Gene Family of the Yellow Fever Mosquito, Aedes aegypti

  • Author(s): Drake, Lisa L.
  • Boudko, Dmitri Y.
  • Marinotti, Osvaldo
  • Carpenter, Victoria K.
  • Dawe, Angus L.
  • Hansen, Immo A.
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License
Abstract

Background

The mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the principal vector of the Dengue and yellow fever viruses. During feeding, an adult female can take up more than its own body weight in vertebrate blood. After a blood meal females excrete large amounts of urine through their excretion system, the Malpighian tubules (MT). Diuresis starts within seconds after the mosquito starts feeding. Aquaporins (AQPs) are a family of membrane transporters that regulate the flow of water, glycerol and other small molecules across cellular membranes in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Our aim was to identify aquaporins that function as water channels, mediating transcellular water transport in MTs of adult female Ae. aegypti.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using a bioinformatics approach we screened genome databases and identified six putative AQPs in the genome of Ae. aegypti. Phylogenetic analysis showed that five of the six Ae. aegypti AQPs have high similarity to classical water-transporting AQPs of vertebrates. Using microarray, reverse transcription and real time PCR analysis we found that all six AQPs are expressed in distinct patterns in mosquito tissues/body parts. AaAQP1, 4, and 5 are strongly expressed in the adult female MT. RNAi-mediated knockdown of the MT-expressed mosquito AQPs resulted in significantly reduced diuresis.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results support the notion that AQP1, 4, and 5 function as water transporters in the MTs of adult female Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. Our results demonstrate the importance of these AQPs for mosquito diuresis after blood ingestion and highlight their potential as targets for the development of novel vector control strategies.

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