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Molecular analysis of Aedes aegypti classical protein tyrosine phosphatases uncovers an ortholog of mammalian PTP-1B implicated in the control of egg production in mosquitoes.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 08-19-2014
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Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases (PTPs) are enzymes that catalyze phosphotyrosine dephosphorylation and modulate cell differentiation, growth and metabolism. In mammals, PTPs play a key role in the modulation of canonical pathways involved in metabolism and immunity. PTP1B is the prototype member of classical PTPs and a major target for treating human diseases, such as cancer, obesity and diabetes. These signaling enzymes are, hence, targets of a wide array of inhibitors. Anautogenous mosquitoes rely on blood meals to lay eggs and are vectors of the most prevalent human diseases. Identifying the mosquito ortholog of PTP1B and determining its involvement in egg production is, therefore, important in the search for a novel and crucial target for vector control.
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An insight into the transcriptome of the digestive tract of the bloodsucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The bloodsucking hemipteran Rhodnius prolixus is a vector of Chagas' disease, which affects 7-8 million people today in Latin America. In contrast to other hematophagous insects, the triatomine gut is compartmentalized into three segments that perform different functions during blood digestion. Here we report analysis of transcriptomes for each of the segments using pyrosequencing technology. Comparison of transcript frequency in digestive libraries with a whole-body library was used to evaluate expression levels. All classes of digestive enzymes were highly expressed, with a predominance of cysteine and aspartic proteinases, the latter showing a significant expansion through gene duplication. Although no protein digestion is known to occur in the anterior midgut (AM), protease transcripts were found, suggesting secretion as pro-enzymes, being possibly activated in the posterior midgut (PM). As expected, genes related to cytoskeleton, protein synthesis apparatus, protein traffic, and secretion were abundantly transcribed. Despite the absence of a chitinous peritrophic membrane in hemipterans - which have instead a lipidic perimicrovillar membrane lining over midgut epithelia - several gut-specific peritrophin transcripts were found, suggesting that these proteins perform functions other than being a structural component of the peritrophic membrane. Among immunity-related transcripts, while lysozymes and lectins were the most highly expressed, several genes belonging to the Toll pathway - found at low levels in the gut of most insects - were identified, contrasting with a low abundance of transcripts from IMD and STAT pathways. Analysis of transcripts related to lipid metabolism indicates that lipids play multiple roles, being a major energy source, a substrate for perimicrovillar membrane formation, and a source for hydrocarbons possibly to produce the wax layer of the hindgut. Transcripts related to amino acid metabolism showed an unanticipated priority for degradation of tyrosine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan. Analysis of transcripts related to signaling pathways suggested a role for MAP kinases, GTPases, and LKBP1/AMP kinases related to control of cell shape and polarity, possibly in connection with regulation of cell survival, response of pathogens and nutrients. Together, our findings present a new view of the triatomine digestive apparatus and will help us understand trypanosome interaction and allow insights into hemipteran metabolic adaptations to a blood-based diet.
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Ovarian dual oxidase (duox) activity is essential for insect eggshell hardening and waterproofing.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 10-30-2013
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In insects, eggshell hardening involves cross-linking of chorion proteins via their tyrosine residues. This process is catalyzed by peroxidases at the expense of H2O2 and confers physical and biological protection to the developing embryo. Here, working with Rhodnius prolixus, the insect vector of Chagas disease, we show that an ovary dual oxidase (Duox), a NADPH oxidase, is the source of the H2O2 that supports dityrosine-mediated protein cross-linking and eggshell hardening. RNAi silencing of Duox activity decreased H2O2 generation followed by a failure in embryo development caused by a reduced resistance to water loss, which, in turn, caused embryos to dry out following oviposition. Phenotypes of Duox-silenced eggs were reversed by incubation in a water-saturated atmosphere, simultaneous silencing of the Duox and catalase genes, or H2O2 injection into the female hemocoel. Taken together, our results show that Duox-generated H2O2 fuels egg chorion hardening and that this process plays an essential role during eggshell waterproofing.
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Heme-oxygenases during erythropoiesis in K562 and human bone marrow cells.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 05-30-2011
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In mammalian cells, heme can be degraded by heme-oxygenases (HO). Heme-oxygenase 1 (HO-1) is known to be the heme inducible isoform, whereas heme-oxygenase 2 (HO-2) is the constitutive enzyme. Here we investigated the presence of HO during erythroid differentiation in human bone marrow erythroid precursors and K562 cells. HO-1 mRNA and protein expression levels were below limits of detection in K562 cells. Moreover, heme was unable to induce HO-1, at the protein and mRNA profiles. Surprisingly, HO-2 expression was inhibited upon incubation with heme. To evaluate the physiological relevance of these findings, we analyzed HO expression during normal erythropoiesis in human bone marrow. Erythroid precursors were characterized by lack of significant expression of HO-1 and by progressive reduction of HO-2 during differentiation. FLVCR expression, a recently described heme exporter found in erythroid precursors, was also analyzed. Interestingly, the disruption in the HO detoxification system was accompanied by a transient induction of FLVCR. It will be interesting to verify if the inhibition of HO expression, that we found, is preventing a futile cycle of concomitant heme synthesis and catabolism. We believe that a significant feature of erythropoiesis could be the replacement of heme breakdown by heme exportation, as a mechanism to prevent heme toxicity.
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Potential impact of a presumed increase in the biting activity of dengue-virus-infected Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) females on virus transmission dynamics.
Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2011
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Recently, we showed that infection with dengue virus increases the locomotor activity of Aedes aegypti females. We speculate that the observed increased locomotor activity could potentially increase the chances of finding a suitable host and, as a consequence, the relative biting rate of infected mosquitoes. We used a mathematical model to investigate the impact of the increased locomotor activity by assuming that this activity translated into an increased biting rate for infected mosquitoes. The results show that the increased biting rate resulted in dengue outbreaks with greater numbers of primary and secondary infections and with more severe biennial epidemics.
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Transcriptome and gene expression profile of ovarian follicle tissue of the triatomine bug Rhodnius prolixus.
Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-17-2011
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Insect oocytes grow in close association with the ovarian follicular epithelium (OFE), which escorts the oocyte during oogenesis and is responsible for synthesis and secretion of the eggshell. We describe a transcriptome of OFE of the triatomine bug Rhodnius prolixus, a vector of Chagas disease, to increase our knowledge of the role of FE in egg development. Random clones were sequenced from a cDNA library of different stages of follicle development. The transcriptome showed high commitment to transcription, protein synthesis, and secretion. The most abundant cDNA was a secreted (S) small, proline-rich protein with maximal expression in the vitellogenic follicle, suggesting a role in oocyte maturation. We also found Rp45, a chorion protein already described, and a putative chitin-associated cuticle protein that was an eggshell component candidate. Six transcripts coding for proteins related to the unfolded-protein response (UPR) by were chosen and their expression analyzed. Surprisingly, transcripts related to UPR showed higher expression during early stages of development and downregulation during late stages, when transcripts coding for S proteins participating in chorion formation were highly expressed. Several transcripts with potential roles in oogenesis and embryo development are also discussed. We propose that intense protein synthesis at the FE results in reticulum stress (RS) and that lowering expression of a set of genes related to cell survival should lead to degeneration of follicular cells at oocyte maturation. This paradoxical suppression of UPR suggests that ovarian follicles may represent an interesting model for studying control of RS and cell survival in professional S cell types.
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Blood meal-derived heme decreases ROS levels in the midgut of Aedes aegypti and allows proliferation of intestinal microbiota.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 02-16-2011
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The presence of bacteria in the midgut of mosquitoes antagonizes infectious agents, such as Dengue and Plasmodium, acting as a negative factor in the vectorial competence of the mosquito. Therefore, knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the control of midgut microbiota could help in the development of new tools to reduce transmission. We hypothesized that toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by epithelial cells control bacterial growth in the midgut of Aedes aegypti, the vector of Yellow fever and Dengue viruses. We show that ROS are continuously present in the midgut of sugar-fed (SF) mosquitoes and a blood-meal immediately decreased ROS through a mechanism involving heme-mediated activation of PKC. This event occurred in parallel with an expansion of gut bacteria. Treatment of sugar-fed mosquitoes with increased concentrations of heme led to a dose dependent decrease in ROS levels and a consequent increase in midgut endogenous bacteria. In addition, gene silencing of dual oxidase (Duox) reduced ROS levels and also increased gut flora. Using a model of bacterial oral infection in the gut, we show that the absence of ROS resulted in decreased mosquito resistance to infection, increased midgut epithelial damage, transcriptional modulation of immune-related genes and mortality. As heme is a pro-oxidant molecule released in large amounts upon hemoglobin degradation, oxidative killing of bacteria in the gut would represent a burden to the insect, thereby creating an extra oxidative challenge to the mosquito. We propose that a controlled decrease in ROS levels in the midgut of Aedes aegypti is an adaptation to compensate for the ingestion of heme.
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Dengue infection increases the locomotor activity of Aedes aegypti females.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-10-2011
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Aedes aegypti is the main vector of the virus causing Dengue fever, a disease that has increased dramatically in importance in recent decades, affecting many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the globe. It is known that viruses and other parasites can potentially alter vector behavior. We investigated whether infection with Dengue virus modifies the behavior of Aedes aegypti females with respect to their activity level.
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Effect of GSK-3 activity, enzymatic inhibition and gene silencing by RNAi on tick oviposition and egg hatching.
Parasitology
PUBLISHED: 05-26-2010
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Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) is classically described as a key enzyme involved in glycogen metabolism in mammals. It has been shown to be highly conserved among several organisms, mainly in the catalytic domain region. This enzyme has already been described in Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and the ovaries of females appeared to be the major site of GSK-3 transcription. The treatment with GSK-3 specific inhibitor (alsterpaullone, bromo-indirubin-oxime 6 and indirubin-3-oxime) caused a reduction in oviposition and egg hatching in completely engorged female ticks. The effect was more pronounced in partially engorged females when alsterpaullone was administrated by artificial capillary feeding. Moreover, GSK-3 gene silencing by RNAi in partially engorged females reduced significantly both oviposition and hatching. The study of tick embryogenesis and proteins that participate in this process has been suggested as an important means for the development of novel strategies for parasite control. GSK-3 is an essential protein involved in embryonic processes and for this reason it has already been suggested as a possible antigen candidate for tick control.
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Calreticulin expression levels and endoplasmic reticulum during late oogenesis and early embryogenesis of Rhodnius prolixus Stahl.
Mol. Biol. Rep.
PUBLISHED: 03-09-2010
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This study reports the cloning, expression analysis and localization of calreticulin (CRT) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) during late oogenesis and early embryogenesis of the insect Rhodnius prolixus. CRT was cloned and sequenced from cDNA extracted from unfertilized eggs. Real-time PCR showed that CRT expression remains at lower levels during late oogenesis when compared to vitellogenic oocytes or day 0 laid fertilized eggs. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that this protein is located in the periphery of the egg, in a differential peripheral ooplasm surrounding the yolk-rich internal ooplasm, only identified by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of thin sections. Using immunogold electron microscopy, the ER ultrastructure (CRT labeled) was identified in the peripheral ooplasm as dispersed lamellae, randomly distributed in the peripheral ooplasm. No massive alterations of ER ultrastructure were found before or right after (30 min) fertilization, but an increase in CRT expression levels and assembly of typical rough ER (parallel cisternae with associated ribosomes) were observed 18-24 h after oviposition. The lack of ER assembly at fertilization and the later formation of rough ER together with the increase in CRT expression levels, suggest that the major functions of ER might be of great importance during the early events of development. The possible involvement of ER in the early steps of embryogenesis will be discussed.
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A real-time PCR procedure for detection of dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, and 3, and their quantitation in clinical and laboratory samples.
J. Virol. Methods
PUBLISHED: 09-25-2009
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Infectious diseases are a major cause of mortality in the world and, among them, dengue is considered the main human arbovirus. No effective vaccines or antiviral drugs are available for this illness, and it is estimated that 2.5 billion people live at risk, leading to millions of dengue cases annually. The most common method for dengue virus (DENV) quantitation is the plaque assay, but there are DENV strains that do not form plaques. For this reason, a PCR protocol able to detect and quantify DENV in the different kinds of samples employed for DENV study is of great value. In this study, a real-time PCR method suitable not only for clinical objectives but also for laboratory routine is described. Sequences from several strains of DENV comprising the four serotypes were aligned. A fragment located at the 5UTR region of the virus genome was used to generate the primers and the probe for real-time PCR. This method was successfully used to identify and quantify distinct dengue virus strains and serotypes in clinical samples, in sera from patients infected with dengue virus, and in the mosquito Aedes aegypti, as well as to study virus replication in different cell lines.
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Blood-feeding induces reversible functional changes in flight muscle mitochondria of Aedes aegypti mosquito.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-27-2009
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Hematophagy poses a challenge to blood-feeding organisms since products of blood digestion can exert cellular deleterious effects. Mitochondria perform multiple roles in cell biology acting as the site of aerobic energy-transducing pathways, and also an important source of reactive oxygen species (ROS), modulating redox metabolism. Therefore, regulation of mitochondrial function should be relevant for hematophagous arthropods. Here, we investigated the effects of blood-feeding on flight muscle (FM) mitochondria from the mosquito Aedes aegypti, a vector of dengue and yellow fever.
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Why do we need alternative tools to control mosquito-borne diseases in Latin America?
Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz
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In this opinion paper, we discuss the potential and challenges of using the symbiont Wolbachia to block mosquito transmitted diseases such as dengue, malaria and chikungunya in Latin America.
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Validation of Aedes aegypti Aag-2 cells as a model for insect immune studies.
Parasit Vectors
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The understanding of mosquito immune responses can provide valuable tools for development of novel mosquito control strategies. Aiming the study at insect innate immunity, continuous insect cell lines have been established and used as research tools due to the fact that they constitute more homogeneous, sensitive, and reproducible systems than the insects from which they originated. More recently, Aag-2, an Aedes aegypti cell lineage, began to be frequently used as a model for studies of mosquito immunity. Nevertheless, to our knowledge, no study has systematically characterized the responses of Aag-2 cell line against different kinds of pathogens and compared its response to those exhibited by whole mosquitoes. For this reason, in this study we characterized gene expression profiles of the Aag-2 cell line in response to different kinds of immune challenges, such as Gram negative and positive bacteria, fungi and viruses, comparing the obtained results with the ones already described in the literature for whole mosquitoes.
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The dengue vector Aedes aegypti contains a functional high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein with a unique regulatory C-terminus.
PLoS ONE
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The mosquito Aedes aegypti can spread the dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. Thus, the search for key molecules involved in the mosquito survival represents today a promising vector control strategy. High Mobility Group Box (HMGB) proteins are essential nuclear factors that maintain the high-order structure of chromatin, keeping eukaryotic cells viable. Outside the nucleus, secreted HMGB proteins could alert the innate immune system to foreign antigens and trigger the initiation of host defenses. In this work, we cloned and functionally characterized the HMGB1 protein from Aedes aegypti (AaHMGB1). The AaHMGB1 protein typically consists of two HMG-box DNA binding domains and an acidic C-terminus. Interestingly, AaHMGB1 contains a unique alanine/glutamine-rich (AQ-rich) C-terminal region that seems to be exclusive of dipteran HMGB proteins. AaHMGB1 is localized to the cell nucleus, mainly associated with heterochromatin. Circular dichroism analyses of AaHMGB1 or the C-terminal truncated proteins revealed ?-helical structures. We showed that AaHMGB1 can effectively bind and change the topology of DNA, and that the AQ-rich and the C-terminal acidic regions can modulate its ability to promote DNA supercoiling, as well as its preference to bind supercoiled DNA. AaHMGB1 is phosphorylated by PKA and PKC, but not by CK2. Importantly, phosphorylation of AaHMGB1 by PKA or PKC completely abolishes its DNA bending activity. Thus, our study shows that a functional HMGB1 protein occurs in Aedes aegypt and we provide the first description of a HMGB1 protein containing an AQ-rich regulatory C-terminus.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.