Identification of a distinct family of genes encoding atypical odorant-binding proteins in the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae

Authors

  • P. X. Xu,

    1. Department of Pharmacology and Center for Basic Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; and
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  • L. J. Zwiebel,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, Program in Developmental Biology and Center for Molecular Neuroscience, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
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  • D. P. Smith

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacology and Center for Basic Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA; and
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Dr Dean P. Smith, Department of Pharmacology and Center for Basic Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390–9111, USA. Tel.: +1 214 648 1650; fax: +1 214 648 1801; e-mail: Dean.Smith@UTSouthwestern.edu

Abstract

We performed a genome-wide analysis for candidate odorant-binding protein (OBP) genes in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae (Ag). We identified fifty-seven putative genes including sixteen genes predicted to encode distinct, higher molecular weight proteins that lack orthologues in Drosophila. Expression analysis indicates that several of these atypical AgOBPs are transcribed in chemosensory organs in adult and immature stages. Phylogenetic analysis of the Anopheles and Drosophila OBP families reveals these proteins fall into several clusters based on sequence similarity and suggests the atypical AgOBP genes arose in the mosquito lineage after the divergence of mosquitoes and flies. The identification of these AgOBP genes is the first step towards determining their biological roles in this economically and medically important insect.

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