Conference 2021 Pre-Recorded Video


Project title

The effect of diet on aquaporin abundance and localization in the mosquito, Aedes aegypti.


Authors and Affiliations

Britney N Picinic 1, Andrew Donini 1, Jean-Paul Paluzzi 1

1. Department of Biology, York University, Toronto, Canada




The disease vector mosquito, Aedes aegypti is a complex animal in which the females of the species require a blood meal from a vertebrate host to produce and mature their eggs. The blood meal causes a significant increase in water and ion-levels within the body, therefore the Malpighian tubules [MTs], which are analogous to the mammalian kidney, are responsible for the production of an ion-rich primary urine. In order for water and some solutes to move through the membrane, there are transmembrane domain proteins that form channels known as aquaporins [AQP], embedded in the epithelium of many organs, one of them being the Malpighian tubules. The males of the species, although do not take a blood meal, require a nectar-meal to sustain their dietary and energetic needs. Therefore, the objective of the study was to determine if the blood-based diet of the female A. aegypti and the nectar-based diet of the male A. aegypti, ultimately affects the localization and abundance of AQP1,2,4,5, and 6.


The localization of the AQPs was determine using immunohistochemistry techniques, both for the male and female A. aegypti. Female mosquitoes were studied under three conditions, sugar-fed (control), 0.5hr post-blood meals [PBM], and 24hr PBM. The males were studied under two conditions, non-fed (control) and starved without a nectar-meal. The same conditions were used to study AQP abundance via Western blot analysis, in both the female and male mosquitoes.


AQP1 was localized to the apical membrane of the MTs in both the female and male mosquito. Following a blood meal, the 0.5hr and 24hr PBM MTs stained significantly brighter than the non-fed MTs. However, AQP1 showed bright staining in the fat body [FB] of the non-fed mosquito but showed very minimal staining in the 0.5hr and 24hr PBM mosquitoes. Similar trends were visible for AQP4. Western blot analysis showed that there is a significant decrease in AQP1 abundance in the 24hr PBM MTs. AQP 1,2,4,5, and 6 have been localized in the male A. aegypti, however AQP abundance is the subject of continuing work.


This work identifies that particular dietary needs significantly impact the physiology of the mosquito, Aedes aegypti. A. aegypti is a disease vector mosquito and is currently considered the deadliest animal on the planet, therefore gaining an in-depth understanding of the animals’ physiology can benefit the field of vector control to stop the spread of deadly diseases.