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The malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae expresses a suite of larval-specific defensin genes


Paul Eggleston, School of Life Sciences, Huxley Building, Keele University, Staffordshire. ST5 5BG, UK. Tel.: +44 1782 583027; fax: +44 1782 583516; e-mail:


cDNAs of Anopheles gambiae Defensin 2 (AgDef2), Defensin 3 (AgDef3) and Defensin 4 (AgDef4), identified in the genome sequence, have been characterized and their expression profiles investigated. In contrast to both typical defensins and insect antimicrobial peptides generally, the newly identified defensins were not upregulated with acute-phase kinetics following immune challenge in insects or cell culture. However, mRNA abundance of AgDef2, AgDef3 and AgDef4 increased significantly during the larval stages. Promoter analysis of all three genes failed to identify putative immune response elements previously identified in other mosquito defensin genes. As previous studies failed to identify these larval-specific defensins, it seems likely that further antimicrobial peptide genes with nontypical expression profiles will be identified as more genome sequences become available.

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