Members of the salivary gland surface protein (SGS) family are major immunogenic components of mosquito saliva.
ABSTRACT: Mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium and certain arboviruses during blood feeding, when they are injected along with saliva. Mosquito saliva interferes with the host's hemostasis and inflammation response and influences the transmission success of some pathogens. One family of mosquito salivary gland proteins, named SGS, is composed of large bacterial-type proteins that in Aedes aegypti were implicated as receptors for Plasmodium on the basal salivary gland surface. Here, we characterize the biology of two SGSs in the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and demonstrate their involvement in blood feeding. Western blots and RT-PCR showed that Sgs4 and Sgs5 are produced exclusively in female salivary glands, that expression increases with age and after blood feeding, and that protein levels fluctuate in a circadian manner. Immunohistochemistry showed that SGSs are present in the acinar cells of the distal lateral lobes and in the salivary ducts of the proximal lobes. SDS-PAGE, Western blots, bite blots, and immunization via mosquito bites showed that SGSs are highly immunogenic and form major components of mosquito saliva. Last, Western and bioinformatic analyses suggest that SGSs are secreted via a non-classical pathway that involves cleavage into a 300-kDa soluble fragment and a smaller membrane-bound fragment. Combined, these data strongly suggest that SGSs play an important role in blood feeding. Together with their role in malaria transmission, we propose that SGSs could be used as markers of human exposure to mosquito bites and in the development of disease control strategies.
Project description:Mosquito saliva is a very complex concoction of >100 proteins, many of which have unknown functions. The effects of mosquito saliva proteins injected into our skin during blood feeding have been studied mainly in mouse models of injection or biting, with many of these systems producing results that may not be relevant to human disease. Here, we describe the numerous effects that mosquito bites have on human immune cells in mice engrafted with human hematopoietic stem cells. We used flow cytometry and multiplex cytokine bead array assays, with detailed statistical analyses, to detect small but significant variations in immune cell functions after 4 mosquitoes fed on humanized mice footpads. After preliminary analyses, at different early times after biting, we focused on assessing innate immune and subsequent cellular responses at 6 hours, 24 hours and 7 days after mosquito bites. We detected both Th1 and Th2 human immune responses, and delayed effects on cytokine levels in the blood, and immune cell compositions in the skin and bone marrow, up to 7 days post-bites. These are the first measurements of this kind, with human immune responses in whole animals, bitten by living mosquitoes, versus previous studies using incomplete mouse models and salivary gland extracts or needle injected saliva. The results have major implications for the study of hematophagous insect saliva, its effects on the human immune system, with or without pathogen transmission, and the possibility of determining which of these proteins to target for vaccination, in attempts to block transmission of numerous tropical diseases.
Project description:Mosquitoes of the Aedes genus transmit arboviruses of great importance to human health as dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever. The tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus can play an important role as arboviral vector, especially when Aedes aegypti is absent or present at low levels. Remarkably, the rapid worldwide spreading of the tiger mosquito is expanding the risk of arboviral transmission also to temperate areas, and the autochthonous cases of chikungunya, dengue and Zika in Europe emphasize the need for improved monitoring and control. Proteomic and transcriptomic studies on blood feeding arthropod salivary proteins paved the way toward the exploitation of genus-specific mosquito salivary proteins for the development of novel tools to evaluate human exposure to mosquito bites. We previously found that the culicine-specific 34k2 salivary protein from Ae. albopictus (al34k2) evokes specific IgG responses in experimentally exposed mice, and provided preliminary evidence of its immunogenicity to humans. In this study we measured IgG responses to al34k2 and to Ae. albopictus salivary gland protein extracts (SGE) in individuals naturally exposed to the tiger mosquito. Sera were collected in two areas of Northeast Italy (Padova and Belluno) during two different time periods: at the end of the low- and shortly after the high-density mosquito seasons. Anti-SGE and anti-al34k2 IgG levels increased after the summer period of exposure to mosquito bites and were higher in Padova as compared to Belluno. An age-dependent decrease of anti-saliva IgG responses was found especially in Padova, an area with at least 25 years history of Ae. albopictus colonization. Moreover, a weak correlation between anti-saliva IgG levels and individual perception of mosquito bites by study participants was found. Finally, determination of anti-al34k2 IgG1 and IgG4 levels indicated a large predominance of IgG1 antibodies. Overall, this study provides a convincing indication that antibody responses to al34k2 may be regarded as a reliable candidate marker to detect temporal and/or spatial variation of human exposure to Ae. albopictus; a serological tool of this kind may prove useful both for epidemiological studies and to estimate the effectiveness of anti-vectorial measures.
Project description:The Anopheles gambiae salivary gland protein 6 (gSG6) is a small protein specifically found in the salivary glands of adult female mosquitoes. We report here the expression of a recombinant form of the protein and we show that in vivo gSG6 is expressed in distal-lateral lobes and is secreted with the saliva while the female mosquito probes for feeding. Injection of gSG6 dsRNA into adult A. gambiae females results in decreased gSG6 protein levels, increased probing time and reduced blood feeding ability. gSG6 orthologs have been found so far only in the salivary glands of Anopheles stephensi and Anopheles funestus, both members of the Cellia subgenus. We report here the gSG6 sequence from five additional anophelines, four species of the A. gambiae complex and Anopheles freeborni, a member of the subgenus Anopheles. We conclude that gSG6 plays some essential blood feeding role and was recruited in the anopheline subfamily most probably after the separation of the lineage which gave origin to Cellia and Anopheles subgenera.
Project description:Salivary proteins injected by blood feeding arthropods into their hosts evoke a saliva-specific humoral response which can be useful to evaluate exposure to bites of disease vectors. However, saliva of hematophagous arthropods is a complex cocktail of bioactive factors and its use in immunoassays can be misleading because of potential cross-reactivity to other antigens. Toward the development of a serological marker of exposure to Afrotropical malaria vectors we expressed the Anopheles gambiae gSG6, a small anopheline-specific salivary protein, and we measured the anti-gSG6 IgG response in individuals from a malaria hyperendemic area of Burkina Faso, West Africa. The gSG6 protein was immunogenic and anti-gSG6 IgG levels and/or prevalence increased in exposed individuals during the malaria transmission/rainy season. Moreover, this response dropped during the intervening low transmission/dry season, suggesting it is sensitive enough to detect variation in vector density. Members of the Fulani ethnic group showed higher anti-gSG6 IgG response as compared to Mossi, a result consistent with the stronger immune reactivity reported in this group. Remarkably, anti-gSG6 IgG levels among responders were high in children and gradually declined with age. This unusual pattern, opposite to the one observed with Plasmodium antigens, is compatible with a progressive desensitization to mosquito saliva and may be linked to the continued exposure to bites of anopheline mosquitoes. Overall, the humoral anti-gSG6 IgG response appears a reliable serological indicator of exposure to bites of the main African malaria vectors (An. gambiae, Anopheles arabiensis and, possibly, Anopheles funestus) and it may be exploited for malaria epidemiological studies, development of risk maps and evaluation of anti-vector measures. In addition, the gSG6 protein may represent a powerful model system to get a deeper understanding of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the immune tolerance and progressive desensitization to insect salivary allergens.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is responsible for up to approximately 300 million infections and an increasing number of deaths related to severe manifestations each year in affected countries throughout the tropics. It is critical to understand the drivers of this emergence, including the role of vector-virus interactions. When a DENV-infected Aedes aegypti mosquito bites a vertebrate, the virus is deposited along with a complex mixture of salivary proteins. However, the influence of a DENV infection upon the expectorated salivary proteome of its vector has yet to be determined.Therefore, we conducted a proteomic analysis using 2-D gel electrophoresis coupled with mass spectrometry based protein identification comparing the naturally expectorated saliva of Aedes aegypti infected with DENV-2 relative to that of uninfected Aedes aegypti.Several proteins were found to be differentially expressed in the saliva of DENV-2 infected mosquitoes, in particular proteins with anti-hemostatic and pain inhibitory functions were significantly reduced. Hypothetical consequences of these particular protein reductions include increased biting rates and transmission success, and lead to alteration of transmission potential as calculated in our vectorial capacity model.We present our characterizations of these changes with regards to viral transmission and mosquito blood-feeding success. Further, we conclude that our proteomic analysis of Aedes aegypti saliva altered by DENV infection provides a unique opportunity to identify pro-viral impacts key to virus transmission.
Project description:An immunomodulatory role of arthropod saliva has been well documented, but evidence for an effect on Plasmodium sp. infectiousness remains controversial. Mosquito saliva may orient the immune response toward a Th2 profile, thereby priming a Th2 response against subsequent antigens, including Plasmodium. Orientation toward a Th1 versus a Th2 profile promotes IgG and IgE proliferation, respectively, where the former is crucial for the development of an efficient antiparasite immune response. Here we assessed the direct effect of mosquito bites on the density of Plasmodium falciparum asexual parasites and the prevalence of gametocytes in chronic, asymptomatic infections in a longitudinal cohort study of seasonal transmission. We additionally correlated these parasitological measures with IgE and IgG antiparasite and anti-salivary gland extract titers. The mosquito biting density was positively correlated with the asexual parasite density but not asexual parasite prevalence and was negatively correlated with gametocyte prevalence. Individual anti-salivary gland IgE titers were also negatively correlated with gametocyte carriage and were strongly positively correlated with antiparasite IgE titers, consistent with the hypothesis that mosquito bites predispose individuals to develop an IgE antiparasite response. We provide evidence that mosquito bites have an impact on asymptomatic infections and differentially so for the production of asexual and sexual parasites. An increased research focus on the immunological impact of mosquito bites during asymptomatic infections is warranted, to establish whether strategies targeting the immune response to saliva can reduce the duration of infection and the onward transmission of the parasite.
Project description:Mosquito borne pathogens are transmitted to humans via saliva during blood feeding. Mosquito saliva is a complex concoction of many secretory factors that modulate the feeding foci to enhance pathogen infection and establishment. Multiple salivary proteins/factors have been identified/characterized that enhance pathogen infection. Here, we describe, for the first time, the identification of exogenous microRNAs from mosquito saliva. MicroRNAs are short, 18-24 nucleotide, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression, and are generally intracellular. However, circulating miRNAs have been described from serum and saliva of humans. Exogenous miRNAs have not been reported from hematophagous arthropod saliva. We sought to identify miRNAs in the mosquito saliva and their role in Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection. Next generation sequencing was utilized to identify 103 exogenous miRNAs in mosquito saliva of which 31 miRNAs were previously unidentified and were designated novel. Several miRNAs that we have identified are expressed only in the CHIKV infected mosquitoes. Five of the saliva miRNAs were tested for their potential to regulated CHIKV infection, and our results demonstrate their functional role in the transmission and establishment of infection during blood feeding on the host.
Project description:Mosquito saliva facilitates blood feeding through the anti-haemostatic, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of its proteins. However, the potential contribution of non-coding RNAs to host manipulation is still poorly understood. We analysed small RNAs from Aedes aegypti saliva and salivary glands and show here that chikungunya virus-infection triggers both the siRNA and piRNA antiviral pathways with limited effects on miRNA expression profiles. Saliva appears enriched in specific miRNA subsets and its miRNA content is well conserved among mosquitoes and ticks, clearly pointing to a non-random sorting and occurrence. Finally, we provide evidence that miRNAs from Ae. aegypti saliva may target human immune and inflammatory pathways, as indicated by prediction analysis and searching for experimentally validated targets of identical human miRNAs. Overall, we believe these observations convincingly support a scenario where both proteins and miRNAs from mosquito saliva are injected into vertebrates during blood feeding and contribute to the complex vector-host-pathogen interactions. Overall design: Small RNAs from saliva and salivary glands of uninfected and chikungunya virus infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were analyzed by RNAseq. All samples were analyzed in triplicate.
Project description:Malaria is an important global public health challenge, and is transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes during blood feeding. Mosquito vector control is one of the most effective methods to control malaria, and population replacement with genetically engineered mosquitoes to block its transmission is expected to become a new vector control strategy. The salivary glands are an effective target tissue for the expression of molecules that kill or inactivate malaria parasites. Moreover, salivary gland cells express a large number of molecules that facilitate blood feeding and parasite transmission to hosts. In the present study, we adapted a functional deficiency system in specific tissues by inducing cell death using the mouse Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) to the Asian malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles stephensi. We applied this technique to salivary gland cells, and produced a transgenic strain containing extremely low amounts of saliva. Although probing times for feeding on mice were longer in transgenic mosquitoes than in wild-type mosquitoes, transgenic mosquitoes still successfully ingested blood. Transgenic mosquitoes also exhibited a significant reduction in oocyst formation in the midgut in a rodent malaria model. These results indicate that mosquito saliva plays an important role in malaria infection in the midgut of anopheline mosquitoes. The dysfunction in the salivary glands enabled the inhibition of malaria transmission from hosts to mosquito midguts. Therefore, salivary components have potential in the development of new drugs or genetically engineered mosquitoes for malaria control.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a severe mosquito-borne disease affecting humans and domestic ruminants. Mosquito saliva contains compounds that counteract the hemostatic, inflammatory, and immune responses of the host. Modulation of these defensive responses may facilitate virus infection. Indeed, Aedes mosquito saliva played a crucial role in the vector's capacity to effectively transfer arboviruses such as the Cache Valley and West Nile viruses. The role of mosquito saliva in the transmission of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) has not been investigated.<h4>Objective</h4>Using a murine model, we explored the potential for mosquitoes to impact the course of RVF disease by determining whether differences in pathogenesis occurred in the presence or absence of mosquito saliva and salivary gland extract.<h4>Methods</h4>C57BL/6NRJ male mice were infected with the ZH548 strain of RVFV via intraperitoneal or intradermal route, or via bites from RVFV-exposed mosquitoes. The virus titers in mosquitoes and mouse organs were determined by plaque assays.<h4>Findings</h4>After intraperitoneal injection, RVFV infection primarily resulted in liver damage. In contrast, RVFV infection via intradermal injection caused both liver and neurological symptoms and this route best mimicked the natural infection by mosquitoes. Co-injections of RVFV with salivary gland extract or saliva via intradermal route increased the mortality rates of mice, as well as the virus titers measured in several organs and in the blood. Furthermore, the blood cell counts of infected mice were altered compared to those of uninfected mice.<h4>Interpretation</h4>Different routes of infection determine the pattern in which the virus spreads and the organs it targets. Aedes saliva significantly increases the pathogenicity of RVFV.