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Journal of Insect Physiology 53 (2007) 715723 Molecular aspects of transferrin expression in the tsetse fly

Summary: Journal of Insect Physiology 53 (2007) 715≠723
Molecular aspects of transferrin expression in the tsetse fly
(Glossina morsitans morsitans)
Nurper Guz1
, Geoffrey M. Attardo, Yineng Wu, Serap Aksoy√
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, 60 College Street, 606 LEPH, New Haven, CT 06510, USA
Received 1 February 2007; received in revised form 15 March 2007; accepted 16 March 2007
Iron is an essential element for metabolic processes intrinsic to life, and yet the properties that make iron a necessity also make it
potentially deleterious. To avoid harm, iron homeostasis is achieved via proteins involved in transport and storage of iron, one of which
is transferrin. We describe the temporal and spatial aspects of transferrin (GmmTsf) expression and its transcriptional regulation in tsetse
where both the male and female are strictly hematophagous. Using Northern, Western and immunohistochemical analysis, we show that
GmmTsf is abundant in the hemolymph and is expressed in the adult developmental stages of male and female insects. It is preferentially
expressed in the female milk gland tubules and its expression appears to be cyclical and possibly regulated in synchrony with the oogenic
and/or larvigenic cycle. Although no mRNA is detected, GmmTsf protein is present in the immature stages of development, apparently
being transported into the intrauterine larva from the mother via the milk gland ducts. Transferrin is also detected in the vitellogenic
ovary and the adult male testes, further supporting its classification as a vitellogenic protein. Similar to reports in other insects,
transferrin mRNA levels increase upon bacterial challenge in tsetse suggesting that transferrin may play an additional role in immunity.
Although transferrin expression is induced following bacterial challenge, it is significantly reduced in tsetse carrying midgut trypanosome
infections. Analysis of tsetse that have cured the parasite challenge shows normal levels of GmmTsf. This observation suggests that the


Source: Aksoy, Serap - School of Public Health, Yale University


Collections: Biology and Medicine