Genomics and Transcriptomics Analysis of the Asian Malaria Mosquito Anopheles stephensi
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Anopheles stephensi is a potent vector of malaria throughout the Indian subcontinent and Middle East. An. stephensi is emerging as a model for molecular and genetic studies of mosquito-parasite interactions. Here we conducted a series of genomic and transcriptomic studies to improve the understanding of the biology of Anopheles stephensi and mosquito in general. First we reported the genome sequence and annotation of the Indian strain of the type form of An. stephensi. The 221 Mb genome assembly was produced using a combination of 454, Illumina, and PacBio sequencing. This hybrid assembly method was significantly better than assemblies generated from a single data source. A total of 11,789 protein-encoding genes were annotated using a combination of homology and de novo prediction. Secondly, we demonstrated the presence of complete dosage compensation in An. stephensi by determining that autosomal and X-linked genes have very similar levels of expression in both males and females. The uniformity of average expression levels of autosomal and X-linked genes remained when An. stephensi gene expression was normalized by that of their Ae. aegypti orthologs, strengthening the conclusion of complete dosage compensation in Anopheles. Lastly, we investigated trans-splicing events in Anopheles stephensi. We identified six trans-splicing events and all the trans-splicing sites are conserved and present in Ae. aegypti. The proteins encoded by the trans-spliced mRNAs are also highly conserved and their orthologs are co-linearly transcribed in out-groups of family Culicidae. This finding indicates the need to preserve the intact mRNA and protein function of the broken-up genes by trans-splicing during evolution. In summary, we presented the first genome assembly of Anopheles stephensi and studied two interesting evolution events" dosage compensation and trans-splicing - via transcriptomic analysis.
- Doctoral Dissertations