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Isolation of cDNA clones encoding putative odourant binding proteins from the antennae of the malaria-transmitting mosquito, Anopheles gambiae


Harald Biessmann, Developmental Biology Center, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA. Tel.: (949) 824 2185; fax: (949) 824 2688; e-mail:


One way of controlling disease transmission by blood-feeding mosquitoes is to reduce the frequency of insect–host interaction, thus reducing the probability of parasite transmission and re-infection. A better understanding of the olfactory processes responsible for allowing mosquitoes to identify human hosts is required in order to develop methods that will interfere with host seeking. We have therefore initiated a molecular approach to isolate and characterize the genes and their products that are involved in the olfactory recognition pathway of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, which is the main malaria vector in sub-Saharan Africa. We report here the isolation and preliminary characterization of several cDNAs from male and female A. gambiae antennal libraries that encode putative odourant binding proteins. Their conceptual translation products show extensive sequence similarity to known insect odourant binding proteins (OBPs)/pheromone binding proteins (PBPs), especially to those of D. melanogaster. The A. gambiae OBPs described here are expressed in the antennae of both genders, and some of the A. gambiae OBP genes are well conserved in other disease-transmitting mosquito species, such as Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus.