Gender-associated (GA) genes are important for the development and reproduction of filarial nematodes. Identification and characterization of GA genes may provide insight into major pathways and processes involved in development and reproduction. The recent completion of the Brugia malayi genome has provided a good foundation for proteomics studies. Multiplex protein labelling and two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) combined with MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem MS were used to identify GA proteins. Thirty male and 32 female associated proteins were identified in this study. Many of these GA genes have homologues in Caenorhabditis elegans (83% male and 69% female), and most of the homologues have severe RNA interference (RNAi) phenotypes (72% male and 55% female) in C. elegans. Functional analysis showed that the male-associated genes are enriched for energy production, metabolic processes and cytoskeleton, while the female-associated genes are enriched for RNA modification and transcription. GA genes encode many excreted/secreted proteins. In situ localization studies showed that GA genes are mainly expressed in reproductive organs, and this is further evidence for their involvement in reproduction. Improved understanding of the basic biology of filarial nematodes may lead to improved tools for prevention and treatment of filarial infections. This study combined proteomics, in situ hybridization (ISH) and bioinformatics in a systems biology approach to improve understanding of gender differences and key proteins involved in reproduction in filarial worms. Advanced proteomics methods and bioinformatics led to the identification of 62 GA proteins for B. malayi. ISH revealed that most of those GA genes are expressed during embryogenesis or spermatogenesis. ISH results were consistent with RNAi data for C. elegans that linked the homologues of the B. malayi proteins to gamete production and embryogenesis.
- Brugia malayi
- Gender-associated proteins
- In situ hybridization
- Multiplex proteomics analysis
- Two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis