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A comprehensive gene expression atlas of sex- and tissue-specificity in the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae.

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Baker, Dean A 
Nolan, Tony 
Pinder, Alex 
Crisanti, Andrea 


BACKGROUND: The mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, is the primary vector of human malaria, a disease responsible for millions of deaths each year. To improve strategies for controlling transmission of the causative parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, we require a thorough understanding of the developmental mechanisms, physiological processes and evolutionary pressures affecting life-history traits in the mosquito. Identifying genes expressed in particular tissues or involved in specific biological processes is an essential part of this process. RESULTS: In this study, we present transcription profiles for ~82% of annotated Anopheles genes in dissected adult male and female tissues. The sensitivity afforded by examining dissected tissues found gene activity in an additional 20% of the genome that is undetected when using whole-animal samples. The somatic and reproductive tissues we examined each displayed patterns of sexually dimorphic and tissue-specific expression. By comparing expression profiles with Drosophila melanogaster we also assessed which genes are well conserved within the Diptera versus those that are more recently evolved. CONCLUSIONS: Our expression atlas and associated publicly available database, the MozAtlas (, provides information on the relative strength and specificity of gene expression in several somatic and reproductive tissues, isolated from a single strain grown under uniform conditions. The data will serve as a reference for other mosquito researchers by providing a simple method for identifying where genes are expressed in the adult, however, in addition our resource will also provide insights into the evolutionary diversity associated with gene expression levels among species.



Animals, Anopheles, Chromosomes, Insect, Databases, Genetic, Drosophila melanogaster, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Gene Dosage, Gene Expression Profiling, Genes, Insect, Insect Vectors, Malaria, Male, Organ Specificity, Sex Characteristics

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BMC Genomics

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (via Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)) (via Imperial College London) (LBEE P58006)
Imperial College London (1221)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (via Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)) (via Imperial College London) (LBEE P41643)