Identifying Novel Peptidoglycan Recognition Proteins in the IMD Immune Pathway of Rhodnius prolixus
Charley Cai
Burnaby North Secondary
Floor Location : S 042 D

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is estimated to affect 8 to 10 million people in Latin America alone. It is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by the hematophagous vector Rhodnius prolixus. However, the lack of investigation into the immune signaling pathways within R. prolixus has contributed to the slow progress in the management and mitigation of the disease’s main vector. In my research, I aimed to elucidate novel Peptidoglycan Recognition Proteins, the primary initiation proteins of the IMD immune pathway, within the genome of R. prolixus. I used BLAST analysis to compare the annotated PGRP genes and the accuracy of their related transcripts in addition to isolating possible isoforms of said genes with PCR. Overall, my project identified many discrepancies, such as misannotated or unannotated exons, within PGRP genes by aligning them to the five available PGRP transcripts from the antennae transcriptome of R. prolixus. Two new isoforms of the PGRP gene RPRC007262 were discovered via cDNA amplification and their functions within the IMD pathway were analyzed with RNAi knockdown and real-time qPCR to measure the effect on their respective anti-microbial peptide transcripts. This research could be used to create R. prolixus phenotypes with inhibitory PGRP knockdowns to induce a stronger immune response to T. cruzi and reduce its vectorial capability.