Novel Chemoreceptors and Gene Expression Profiling in antennae and maxillary palps of Anopheles gambiae
Pitts, Ronald Jason
This project is concerned with the molecular basis for the sense of smell in the disease-carrying mosquito species, Anopheles gambiae. Females of this species feed predominantly on human blood. The sense of smell, also know as chemosensation, is largely responsible for the ability of female mosquitoes to find humans for feeding. In this dissertation, I describe the experiments that have led our group to an improved understanding of chemosensation in An. gambiae. Specifically I helped identify and characterize novel gene family, the An. gambiae Ionotropic receptors (AgIrs) that define a new chemosensory pathway in mosquitoes. Additionally, I worked with colleagues to examine gene expression profiles of whole chemosensory appendages, the antennae and maxillary palps, of adult male and female mosquitoes. These studies may ultimately lead to improved methods of mosquito control or surveillance.