A few years ago, I blogged about the potential deleterious consequences of jet lag on susceptibility to mosquito bites and malarial contagion. This week in PNAS (most hilarious to pronounce journal), researchers at a university whose football team that I abhor, Notre Dame, did extensive DNA microarray and heat map analyses to determine diel (entrained) and circadian expressed genes in Anopheles gambiae, the primary African vector of malaria parasites. The list of rhythmically expressed genes is too elusive to write here, but here are some pretty heat maps showing photocycle-contingent and endogenous expression of genes within metabolic, visual/olfactory, and immune system networks.
It’s not a surprise that these “indestructible bastards” also have rhythmically expressed core clock genes that makeup the molecular circadian clock, which consist of different transcription and translation factors than those found in mammals, but have similar functional (positive vs. negative transcriptional activation) properties as compared below.
This paper, I think, has profound biomedical impact because we now have access to the malarial-host genome which can advance the strategic development of treatment and we can possibly determine times of day when malarial infections are most likely/unlikely. Chronotherapeutics at its finest.
Rund SS, Hou TY, Ward SM, Collins FH, & Duffield GE (2011). Genome-wide profiling of diel and circadian gene expression in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (32) PMID: 21715657