On the nature of the sensory arrestins of the dipteran insects Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster
Walker III, William Benjamin
This project is concerned with the functional roles of the sensory arrestin genes, arr1 and arr2, in the regulation of dipteran olfactory signal transduction. Specifically, I have examined the sensory arrestins of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the malaria vector mosquito, Anopheles gambiae (An. gambiae). I have demonstrated that transgenic expression of An. gambiae arr1 in the antennae of arr1 mutant fruit flies sufficiently rescues olfactory deficits in these mutant flies. This implies functional orthology between the fruit fly and mosquito arr1 homologues. I also sought to examine spatial and temporal characteristics of these genes in the antennae of D. melanogaster. I attempted to identify the spatial expression patterns of arr1 and arr2 mRNA in antennal neurons via fluorescence in situ hybridization. However, the expression levels of these genes lie below the threshold of detection for the applied methodology, as no signal corresponding to the expression of these genes was detected. I utilized time-controlled induction of wild-type arr1 transgene paradigms in arr1 mutant fruit flies to assess the role of this gene as it pertains to the temporal dynamics of the effects of this gene on the olfactory system of the fly. The results of these studies are inconclusive and require further experimentation.