Although mosquito genome projects have uncovered orthologues of many known developmental regulatory genes, extremely little is known about mosquito development. In this study, the role of semaphorin-1a (sema1a) was investigated during vector mosquito embryonic ventral nerve cord development. Expression of sema1a and the plexin A (plexA) receptor are detected in the embryonic ventral nerve cords of Aedes aegypti (dengue vector) and Anopheles gambiae (malaria vector), suggesting that Sema1a signaling may regulate mosquito nervous system development. Analysis of sema1a function was investigated through siRNA-mediated knockdown in A. aegypti embryos. Knockdown of sema1a during A. aegypti development results in a number of nerve cord phenotypes, including thinning, breakage, and occasional fusion of the longitudinal connectives, thin or absent commissures, and general distortion of the nerve cord. Although analysis of Drosophila melanogaster sema1a loss-of-function mutants uncovered many similar phenotypes, aspects of the longitudinal phenotypes differed between D. melanogaster and A. aegypti. The results of this investigation suggest that Sema1a is required for development of the insect ventral nerve cord, but that the developmental roles of this guidance molecule have diverged in dipteran insects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)