The life span of the Aedes aegypti mosquito ranges from two to four weeks depending on environmental conditions, during which the female lays about one thousand eggs in water-filled containers close to human environments, because it needs human blood in order to reproduce and to complete its life cycle. Male mosquitos lack a blood-feeding system, so only the females are in contact with humans, acting as vectors of the Mayaro, Dengue, Chikunguya, Yellow Fever, and Zika viruses, as well as other pathogens. To date, there are no totaly effective methods to avoid this
contact and the infecting bite of this species.
In order to determine the similarities and differences in the intrinsic disorder predisposition of proteins expressed by each of these arboviruses and to get a “fingerprint” that identifies them, a set of bioinformatic programs developed by this team of researchers was applied to retrieve the Polarity Index Method® (PIM®) profile and the Intrinsic Disorder Predisposition maps of the proteins extracted from the UniProt database. These programs were designed under the assumption that the amino acid sequences contain information defining the ability of a given protein to fold into unique three-dimensional structure or to stay intrinsically disordered and also determining its predominant function.
The PIM® profiles and Intrinsic Disorder Predisposition maps were compared with those generated for other protein groups, such as bacteria, fungi and viruses from the UniProt database, Cell Penetrating Peptides from the CPP database, and two groups of intrinsically disordered proteins, wholly and partially disordered. This comparative analysis characterized the arbovirus group and differentiated it from the other groups of proteins by generating specific “fingerprints” that identified each them.
The authors found 1736 proteins from the 559,228 “reviewed” proteins in the UniProt database that had a similar PIM® profile to the 29 mutated proteins expressed by the five groups of arboviruses. The findings suggest that the PIM® profile characterization might be useful for the identification of proteins expressed by arthropod-borne viruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitos.
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