Behavioral and Molecular Assessment of Sleep-like States in Mosquitoes

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Justin Marlman
Lucas A. Gleitz
Oluwaseun M. Ajay
Clément Vinauger
Joshua B. Benoit
Joshua Benoit


By Justin Marlman, Biological Sciences; Lucas A. Gleitz, University of Cincinnati; Oluwaseun M. Ajay, Univerity of Cincinnati; Clément Vinauger, University of Cincinnti; Joshua B. Benoit, University of Cincinnati

Advisor: Joshua Benoit

Presentation ID: 213

Abstract: Mosquitoes are vectors of many parasites and arboviruses responsible for diseases such as malaria, and yellow fever. The vector competence of mosquitoes is influenced by factors such as biting frequency and immunity, which are directly influenced by circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms influence sleep-like states in mammals and several insect models; however, sleep has been understudied in mosquitoes. Hence, we characterized sleep-like states in mosquitoes using behavioral correlates and mining of published molecular datasets. Postural differences between putative sleep and awake states in Aedes aegypti were quantified and the orientation of the body and hindlegs revealed unique differences between putative sleep and awake states in this mosquito species. Sleep quantification and rebound assays were completed for Ae aegypti with comparisons to Culex pipiens and Anopheles stephensi, which revealed a distinct period of sleep rebound following deprivation. The sleep period of the three mosquito species matches historical field observations on mosquito activity. Lastly, we examined mosquito proteomes for orthologs linked to sleep in Drosophila melanogaster and found that 58 Drosophila sleep-based genes have orthologs in multiple mosquito species, and gene ontology revealed similar functions. These studies suggest that sleep-like states occur in mosquitoes, and further understanding will improve existing disease modeling and control strategies.

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Category: The Natural World