Identification and expression profiling of putative odorant-binding proteins in the malaria mosquitoes, Anopheles gambiae and A. arabiensis

  • Zhengxi Li
  • Jing-Jiang Zhou
  • Zuorui Shen
  • Field Lin


Olfaction plays a major role in host-seeking behaviour of mosquitoes. An informatics-based genome-wide analysis of odorant-binding protein (OBP) homologues is undertaken, and 32 putative OBP genes in total in the whole genome sequences of Anopheles gambiae are identified. Tissue-specific expression patterns of all A. gambiae OBP candidates are determined by semi-quantitative Reverse Transcription (RT)-PCR using mosquito actin gene as internal expression control standard. The results showed that 20 OBP candidates had strong expression in mosquito olfactory tissues (female antennae), which indicate that OBPs may play an important role in regulating mosquito olfactory behaviours. Species-specific expression patterns of all putative anopheline OBPs are also studied in two of the most important malaria vectors in A. gambiae complex, i.e. A. gambiae and A. arabiensis, which found 12 of the putative OBP genes examined displayed species-differential expression patterns. The cumulative relative expression intensity of the OBPs in A. arabiensis antennae was higher than that in A. gambiae (the ratio is 1441.45:1314.12), which might be due to their different host preference behaviour. While A. gambiae is a highly anthropophilic mosquito, A. arabiensis is more opportunistic (varying from anthropophilic to zoophilic). So the latter should need more OBPs to support its host selection preference. Identification of mosquito OBPs and verification of their tissue- and species-specific expression patterns represent the first step towards further molecular analysis of mosquito olfactory mechanism, such as recombinant expression and ligand identification.


odorant binding protein A. gambiae A. arabiensis olfaction semi-quantitative RT-PCR 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhengxi Li
    • 1
  • Jing-Jiang Zhou
    • 2
  • Zuorui Shen
    • 1
  • Field Lin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Biological Chemistry DivisionRothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK

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