Identification of novel arthropod vector G protein-coupled receptors

Authors: 
Ronald J. Nowling, Jenica L. Abrudan, Douglas A. Shoue, Badi Abdul-Wahid, Mariha Wadsworth, Gwen Stayback, Frank H. Collins, Mary Ann McDowell, and Jesus A. Izaguirre
Citation: 
Parasites & vectors 6.1 (2013): 150.
Publication Date: 
May, 2013

Background
The control of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, and typhus fever is often achieved with the use of insecticides. Unfortunately, insecticide resistance is becoming common among different vector species. There are currently no chemical alternatives to these insecticides because new human-safe classes of molecules have yet to be brought to the vector-control market. The identification of novel targets offer opportunities for rational design of new chemistries to control vector populations. One target family, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), has remained relatively under explored in terms of insecticide development.

Methods
A novel classifier, Ensemble*, for vector GPCRs was developed. Ensemble* was validated and compared to existing classifiers using a set of all known GPCRs from Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae, Apis Mellifera, Drosophila melanogaster, Homo sapiens, and Pediculus humanus. Predictions for unidentified sequences from Ae. aegypti, An. gambiae, and Pe. humanus were validated. Quantitative RT-PCR expression analysis was performed on previously-known and newly discovered Ae. aegypti GPCR genes.

Results
We present a new analysis of GPCRs in the genomes of Ae, aegypti, a vector of dengue fever, An. gambiae, a primary vector of Plasmodium falciparum that causes malaria, and Pe. humanus, a vector of epidemic typhus fever, using a novel GPCR classifier, Ensemble*, designed for insect vector species. We identified 30 additional putative GPCRs, 19 of which we validated. Expression of the newly discovered Ae. aegypti GPCR genes was confirmed via quantitative RT-PCR.

Conclusion
A novel GPCR classifier for insect vectors, Ensemble*, was developed and GPCR predictions were validated. Ensemble* and the validation pipeline were applied to the genomes of three insect vectors (Ae. aegypti, An. gambiae, and Pe. humanus), resulting in the identification of 52 GPCRs not previously identified, of which 11 are predicted GPCRs, and 19 are predicted and confirmed GPCRs.