The art of stealing blood requires that arthropods have the ability to circumvent the efficient mechanisms vertebrates have in place to maintain hemostasis, including platelet aggregation, vasoconstriction, and clotting. This is accomplished using a remarkable array of salivary proteins. We have taken a comparative approach to the study of these salivary components, working with saliva from mosquitoes, triatomine bugs, and ticks. Novel proteins and peptides identified to date include apyrases (ATP/ADP diphosphohydrolases), lipocalin-type proteins that inhibit platelet responses to collagen and ADP, tachykinin peptides which closely mimic endogenous vasodilators, and a family of nitrophorins that function as a storage and transport system for nitric oxide. Our focus also includes the immune response that develops in the host in response to salivary antigens. This response is also manipulated by components of the saliva, and we are currently characterizing these immunomoduulators. We believe that the vector modifies the environment of the bite site in a variety of ways that tend to favor parasite or pathogen entry into the host, and we anticipate that identification of the salivary components involved and their mode of action will lead to novel strategies for blocking transmission.
ENTO 3650 Medical Entomology
This undergraduate survey course introduces students to the concepts and principles of medical and veterinary entomology. The major groups of arthropods associated with disease are discussed. Laboratory exercises emphasize the recognition and identification of medically important arthropods. This course is offered every spring semester.
ENTO 8650 Vector Biology
This course emphasizes recent advances in the understanding of vector physiology, vector-host interactions, and vector-parasite interactions. Selected topics are introduced in an overview lecture, and recent papers are provided for critical discussion. The application of molecular biology techniques to problems in vector biology is highlighted. This course is offered in alternating years.
ENTO 8570 Molecular Entomology
This course is team taught with Drs. M. Brown, M. Adang, and J. Willis. After an introductory lecture students are provided with recent papers for critical discussion. Discussions are student-lead. Critical advances in all aspects of insect molecular biology are emphasized. This course alternates with Vector Biology.
ENTO 6XXX Medical and Urban Entomology
This newly proposed course will be team taught with Dr. Brian Forschler. We will survey the major arthropod groups involved in causing disease or otherwise impacting quality of life, particularly in the urban environment. A format of lectures and assigned readings will be followed, including laboratory exercises in the identification and control of relevant arthropods. An insect collection will be required. We anticipate that this course will be offered in the fall semester.
- Andersen JF, Ding XD, Balfour C, Shokhireva TK, Champagne DE, Walker FA, Montfort WR. “Kinetics and equilibria in ligand binding by nitrophorins 1-4: evidence for stabilization of a nitric oxide-ferriheme complex through a ligand-induced conformational trap.” Biochemistry 2000; 39(33):10118-31.
- Francischetti IM, Ribeiro JM, Champagne D, Andersen J. “Purification, cloning, expression, and mechanism of action of a novel platelet aggregation inhibitor from the salivary gland of the blood-sucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus.” J. Biol. Chem. 2000; 275:12639-50.
- Beerntsen BT, Champagne DE, Coleman JL, Campos YA, James AA. “Characterization of the Sialokinin I gene encoding the salivary vasodilator of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.” Insect Mol. Biol. 1999; 8:459-67.
- Andersen JF, Weichsel A, Balfour CA, Champagne DE, Montfort WR. “The crystal structure of nitrophorin 4 at 1.5 A resolution: transport of nitric oxide by a lipocalin-based heme protein.” Structure 1998; 6:1315-27.
- Cupp MS, Ribeiro JM, Champagne DE, Cupp EW. “Analyses of cDNA and recombinant protein for a potent vasoactive protein in saliva of a blood-feeding black fly, Simulium vittatum.” J. Exp. Biol. 1998; 201:1553-61.
- Weichsel A, Andersen JF, Champagne DE, Walker FA, Montfort WR. “Crystal structures of a nitric oxide transport protein from a blood-sucking insect.” Nat. Struct. Biol. 1998; 5:304-9.
- Brown MR, Graf R, Swiderek KM, Fendley D, Stracker TH, Champagne DE, Lea AO. “Identification of a steroidogenic neurohormone in female mosquitoes.” J. Biol Chem. 1998; 273:3967-71.
- Andersen JF, Champagne DE, Weichsel A, Ribeiro JM, Balfour CA, Dress V, Montfort WR. “Nitric oxide binding and crystallization of recombinant nitrophorin I, a nitric oxide transport protein from the blood-sucking bug Rhodnius prolixus.” Biochemistry 1997; 36:4423-8.