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Vitellogenin genes are transcribed in Culex quinquefasciatus ovary.

BACKGROUND: Culex quinquefasciatus, a cosmopolitan, domestic, and highly anthropophilic mosquito, is a vector of pathogenic arboviruses such as West Nile virus and Rift Valley virus, as well as lymphatic filariasis. The current knowledge on its reproductive physiology regarding vitellogenin expression in different tissues is still limited.

OBJECTIVES: In this study, we analysed the transcriptional profiles of vitellogenin genes in the fat body and ovaries of C. quinquefasciatus females during the first gonotrophic cycle.

METHODS: C. quinquefasciatus ovaries and/or fat bodies were dissected in different times during the first gonotrophic cycle and total RNA was extracted and used for reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, quantitative real time-PCR, and in situ hybridisation.

FINDINGS: We confirmed the classical descriptions of the vitellogenic process in mosquitoes by verifying that vitellogenin genes are transcribed in the fat bodies of C. quinquefasciatus females. Using RNA in situ hybridisation approach, we showed that vitellogenin genes are also transcribed in developing ovaries, specifically by the follicle cells.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS: This is the first time that vitellogenin transcripts are observed in mosquito ovaries. Studies to determine if Vg transcripts are translated into proteins and their contribution to the reproductive success of the mosquito need to be further investigated.

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