Vectors of infectious disease include several species of Aedes mosquitoes. The life cycle of Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, consists of a terrestrial adult and an aquatic larval life stage. Developing in coastal waters can expose larvae to fluctuating salinity, causing salt and water imbalance, which is addressed by two prime osmoregulatory organs – the Malpighian tubules (MTs) and anal papillae (AP). Voltage-gated ion channels (VGICs) have recently been implicated in the regulation of ion transport in the osmoregulatory epithelia of insects. In the current study, we: (i) generated MT transcriptomes of freshwater-acclimated and brackish water-exposed larvae of Ae. aegypti, (ii) detected expression of several voltage-gated Ca2+, K+, Na+ and non-ion-selective ion channels in the MTs and AP using transcriptomics, PCR and gel electrophoresis, (iii) demonstrated that mRNA abundance of many altered significantly following brackish water exposure, and (iv) immunolocalized CaV1, NALCN, TRP/Painless and KCNH8 in the MTs and AP of larvae using custom-made antibodies. We found CaV1 to be expressed in the apical membrane of MTs of both larvae and adults, and its inhibition to alter membrane potentials of this osmoregulatory epithelium. Our data demonstrate that multiple VGICs are expressed in osmoregulatory epithelia of Ae. aegypti and may play an important role in the autonomous regulation of ion transport.

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