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Life Sci Alliance. 2019 Jan 2;2(1):e201800191. doi: 10.26508/lsa.201800191. eCollection 2019 Feb.

Evolution of gene expression levels in the male reproductive organs of Anopheles mosquitoes.

Author information

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire, UK.
Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Entomology Branch, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Advanced Data Analysis Centre, Sutton Bonington Campus, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire, UK.
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Modifications in gene expression determine many of the phenotypic differentiations between closely related species. This is particularly evident in reproductive tissues, where evolution of genes is more rapid, facilitating the appearance of distinct reproductive characteristics which may lead to species isolation and phenotypic variation. Large-scale, comparative analyses of transcript expression levels have been limited until recently by lack of inter-species data mining solutions. Here, by combining expression normalisation across lineages, multivariate statistical analysis, evolutionary rate, and protein-protein interaction analysis, we investigate ortholog transcripts in the male accessory glands and testes across five closely related species in the Anopheles gambiae complex. We first demonstrate that the differentiation by transcript expression is consistent with the known Anopheles phylogeny. Then, through clustering, we discover groups of transcripts with tissue-dependent expression patterns conserved across lineages, or lineage-dependent patterns conserved across tissues. The strongest associations with reproductive function, transcriptional regulatory networks, protein-protein subnetworks, and evolutionary rate are found for the groups of transcripts featuring large expression differences in lineage or tissue-conserved patterns.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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