Malaria is one of the most debilitating mosquito-borne diseases with high global health burdens. While much of the research on malaria and mosquito-borne diseases is focused on Africa, Southeast Asia accounts for a sizable portion of the global burden of malaria. Moreover, about 50% of the Asian malaria incidence and deaths have been from India. A promising development in this context is that the completion of genome sequence of Anopheles stephensi, a major malaria vector in Asia, offers new opportunities for global health innovation, including the progress in deciphering the vectorial ability of this mosquito species at a molecular level. Moving forward, tissue-based expression profiling would be the next obvious step in understanding gene functions of An. stephensi. We report in this article, to the best of our knowledge, the first in-depth study on tissue-based transcriptomic profile of four important organs (midgut, Malpighian tubules, fat body, and ovary) of adult female An. stephensi mosquitoes. In all, we identified over 20,000 transcripts corresponding to more than 12,000 gene loci from these four tissues. We present and discuss the tissue-based expression profiles of majority of annotated transcripts in An. stephensi genome, and the dynamics of their alternative splicing in these tissues, in this study. The domain-based Gene Ontology analysis of the differentially expressed transcripts in each of the mosquito tissue indicated enrichment of transcripts with proteolytic activity in midgut; transporter activity in Malpighian tubules; cell cycle, DNA replication, and repair activities in ovaries; and oxidoreductase activities in fat body. Tissue-based study of transcript expression and gene functions markedly enhances our understanding of this important malaria vector, and in turn, offers rationales for further studies on vectorial ability and identification of novel molecular targets to intercept malaria transmission.
Keywords: Anopheles stephensi; global health innovation; malaria transmission; mosquito-borne diseases; transcriptomics.