Open Access Research

Adult midgut expressed sequence tags from the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans and expression analysis of putative immune response genes

M J Lehane1*, S Aksoy2, W Gibson3, A Kerhornou4, M Berriman4, J Hamilton5, M B Soares6, M F Bonaldo6, S Lehane1 and N Hall4

Author Affiliations

1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, LL57 2UW, UK

2 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Section of Vector Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, USA

3 School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK

4 The Sanger Centre, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge CB10 1SA, UK

5 Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth SY23 3DA, UK

6 451 4184 MEBRF, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

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Genome Biology 2003, 4:R63  doi:10.1186/gb-2003-4-10-r63

Published: 11 September 2003

Abstract

Background

Tsetse flies transmit African trypanosomiasis leading to half a million cases annually. Trypanosomiasis in animals (nagana) remains a massive brake on African agricultural development. While trypanosome biology is widely studied, knowledge of tsetse flies is very limited, particularly at the molecular level. This is a serious impediment to investigations of tsetse-trypanosome interactions. We have undertaken an expressed sequence tag (EST) project on the adult tsetse midgut, the major organ system for establishment and early development of trypanosomes.

Results

A total of 21,427 ESTs were produced from the midgut of adult Glossina morsitans morsitans and grouped into 8,876 clusters or singletons potentially representing unique genes. Putative functions were ascribed to 4,035 of these by homology. Of these, a remarkable 3,884 had their most significant matches in the Drosophila protein database. We selected 68 genes with putative immune-related functions, macroarrayed them and determined their expression profiles following bacterial or trypanosome challenge. In both infections many genes are downregulated, suggesting a malaise response in the midgut. Trypanosome and bacterial challenge result in upregulation of different genes, suggesting that different recognition pathways are involved in the two responses. The most notable block of genes upregulated in response to trypanosome challenge are a series of Toll and Imd genes and a series of genes involved in oxidative stress responses.

Conclusions

The project increases the number of known Glossina genes by two orders of magnitude. Identification of putative immunity genes and their preliminary characterization provides a resource for the experimental dissection of tsetse-trypanosome interactions.