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Physiol Genomics. 2009 Nov 6;39(3):202-9. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00095.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

Transcription profiling and regulation of fat metabolism genes in diapausing adults of the mosquito Culex pipiens.

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1
Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

Abstract

Culex pipiens, the mosquito that vectors West Nile virus in North America, overwinters in an adult diapause (dormancy) that is programmed by the short day length and low temperatures of autumn. In response to these environmental signals, females cease feeding on blood and instead seek sources of nectar used to generate the huge lipid reserves required for winter survival. To identify regulatory networks that regulate fat accumulation and fat consumption during diapause, we compared expression of fat-related genes from nondiapausing females with expression of those same genes in early and late diapause and at diapause termination. Among the 31 genes we examined, 4 were expressed more highly in early diapause than in nondiapause, while 14 genes were downregulated in early diapause. In the transition from early to late diapause, 19 genes related to fat metabolism were upregulated. As reported previously, fatty acid synthase, identified as fas-1 in this study, was upregulated in early diapause. Numerous fat metabolism genes, including multiple kinetic classes and genes involved in beta-oxidation, an energy-generation step, were suppressed in early diapause but were highly expressed in late diapause and at diapause termination. RNA interference (RNAi) analysis revealed that the fas-1 gene and others (fas-3 and fabp) have important roles in fat storage during early diapause. When expression of these genes is suppressed, female mosquitoes fail to sequester the lipids needed for overwintering.

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