Nuclear receptors in the mosquito Aedes aegypti

Annotation, hormonal regulation and expression profiling


A. S. Raikhel, Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, Watkins Drive, CA 92521, USA
Fax: +1 951 827 2140
Tel: +1 951 827 2146


In anautogenous mosquitoes, egg development requires blood feeding and as a consequence mosquitoes act as vectors of numerous devastating diseases of humans and domestic animals. Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating mosquito egg development may contribute significantly to the development of novel vector-control strategies. Previous studies have shown that in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, nuclear receptors (NRs) play a key role in the endocrine regulation of reproduction. However, many mosquito NRs remain uncharacterized, some of which may play an important role in mosquito reproduction. Publication of the genome of A. aegypti allowed us to identify all NRs in this mosquito based on their phylogenetic relatedness to those within Insecta. We have determined that there are 20 putative A. aegypti NRs, some of which are predicted to have different isoforms. As the first step toward analysis of this gene family, we have established their expression within the two main reproductive tissues of adult female mosquitoes: fat body and ovary. All NR transcripts are present in both tissues, most displaying dynamic expression profiles during reproductive cycles. Finally, in vitro assays with isolated fat bodies were conducted to identify the role of the steroid hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone in modulating the expression of A. aegypti NRs. These data which describe the identification, expression and hormonal regulation of 20 NRs in the yellow fever mosquito lay a solid foundation for future studies on the hormonal regulation of reproduction in mosquitoes.