A potential role for phenylalanine hydroxylase in mosquito immune responses.

Johnson JK, Rocheleau TA, Hillyer JF, Chen CC, Li J, Christensen BM
Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 33 (3): 345-54

PMID: 12609519

In mosquitoes the melanotic encapsulation immune response is an important resistance mechanism against filarial worms and malaria parasites. The rate limiting substrate for melanin production is tyrosine that is hydroxylated by phenoloxidase (PO) to produce 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine. The single pathway for endogenous production of tyrosine is by hydroxylation of phenylalanine by phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH). In this study we describe a potential role for PAH in melanotic immune responses in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. A 1.6 kb A. aegypti PAH cDNA, encoding a 51 kDa protein, was isolated and subsequently expressed in an Escherichia coli expression system. In developing mosquitoes, PAH transcript is present in all stages and it is differentially expressed in adult tissues. Following an immune-challenge with Dirofilaria immitis microfilariae (mf) or bacteria, PAH transcript is up-regulated in hemocytes. Likewise, western analysis of hemocytes collected from immune-activated mosquitoes show an increase in gene product over control samples. Like PO, ultrastructure observations provide verification that PAH is located in oenocytoid and granulocyte hemocytes. Our results offer the first data that suggest PAH is used in mosquito melanin synthesis and defense responses.

MeSH Terms (9)

Amino Acid Sequence Animals Blotting, Western Culicidae DNA, Complementary Hemocytes Immunohistochemistry Phenylalanine Hydroxylase Recombinant Proteins

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