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Keywords:

  • coeloconic sensilla;
  • temperature receptor;
  • TRP channel

Abstract

Heat sensitivity is a sensory modality that plays a critical role in close-range host-seeking behaviors of adult female Anopheles gambiae, the principal Afrotropical vector for human malaria. An essential step in this activity is the ability to discriminate and respond to increases in environmental temperature gradients through the process of peripheral thermoreception. Here, we report on the characterization of the anopheline homolog of the transient receptor potential (TRP) A1/ANKTM1 channel that is consistent with its role as a heat-sensor in host-seeking adult female mosquitoes. We identify a set of distal antennal sensory structures that specifically respond to temperature gradients and express AgTRPA1. Functional characterization of AgTRPA1 in Xenopus oocytes supports its role in the molecular transduction of temperature gradients in An. gambiae, providing a basis for targeting mosquito heat responses as a means toward reducing malaria transmission.