Molecular cloning, phylogeny and localization of AgNHA1: The first Na +/H+ antiporter (NHA) from a metazoan, Anopheles gambiae

Mark R. Rheault, Bernard A. Okech, Stephen B.W. Keen, Melissa M. Miller, Ella A. Meleshkevitch, Paul J. Linser, Dmitri Y. Boudko, William R. Harvey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We have cloned a cDNA encoding a new ion transporter from the alimentary canal of larval African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the corresponding gene is in a group that has been designated NHA, and which includes (Na+ or K +)/H+ antiporters; so the novel transporter is called AgNHA1. The annotation of current insect genomes shows that both AgNHA1 and a close relative, AgNHA2, belong to the cation proton antiporter 2 (CPA2) subfamily and cluster in an exclusive clade of genes with high identity from Aedes aegypti, Drosophila melanogaster, D. pseudoobscura, Apis mellifera and Tribolium castaneum. Although NHA genes have been identified in all phyla for which genomes are available, no NHA other than AgNHA1 has previously been cloned, nor have the encoded proteins been localized or characterized. The AgNHA1 transcript was localized in An. gambiae larvae by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and in situ hybridization. AgNHA1 message was detected in gastric caeca and rectum, with much weaker transcription in other parts of the alimentary canal. Immunolabeling of whole mounts and longitudinal sections of isolated alimentary canal showed that AgNHA1 is expressed in the cardia, gastric caeca, anterior midgut, posterior midgut, proximal Malpighian tubules and rectum, as well as in the subesophageal and abdominal ganglia. A phylogenetic analysis of NHAs and KHAs indicates that they are ubiquitous. A comparative molecular analysis of these antiporters suggests that they catalyze electrophoretic alkali metal ion/hydrogen ion exchanges that are driven by the voltage from electrogenic H+ V-ATPases. The tissue localization of AgNHA1 suggests that it plays a key role in maintaining the characteristic longitudinal pH gradient in the lumen of the alimentary canal of An. gambiae larvae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3848-3861
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • African malaria mosquito
  • AgNHA
  • AgNHE
  • Alkalinization
  • CHA
  • CHE
  • CPA2
  • Exchanger
  • NHA
  • NHE
  • Potassium
  • Sodium


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