Mosquitoes are vectors of a number of important human and animal diseases. The development of novel vector control strategies requires a thorough understanding of mosquito biology. To facilitate this, we used RNA-seq to identify novel genes and provide the first high-resolution view of the transcriptome throughout development and in response to blood feeding in a mosquito vector of human disease, Aedes aegypti, the primary vector for Dengue and yellow fever. We characterized mRNA expression at 34 distinct time points throughout Aedes development, including adult somatic and germline tissues, by using polyA+ RNA-seq. We identify a total of 14,238 novel new transcribed regions corresponding to 12,597 new loci, as well as many novel transcript isoforms of previously annotated genes. Altogether these results increase the annotated fraction of the transcribed genome into long polyA+ RNAs by more than twofold. We also identified a number of patterns of shared gene expression, as well as genes and/or exons expressed sex-specifically or sex-differentially. Expression profiles of small RNAs in ovaries, early embryos, testes, and adult male and female somatic tissues also were determined, resulting in the identification of 38 new Aedes-specific miRNAs, and ~291,000 small RNA new transcribed regions, many of which are likely to be endogenous small-interfering RNAs and Piwi-interacting RNAs. Genes of potential interest for transgene-based vector control strategies also are highlighted. Our data have been incorporated into a user-friendly genome browser located at www.Aedes.caltech.edu, with relevant links to Vectorbase (www.vectorbase.org).
Keywords: Aedes aegypti; Medea; chikungunya; dengue fever; gene drive; malaria; population replacement; transcriptomes; yellow fever.