Purdue University
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Entomology Student, Emily Kraus, Wins 1st place in the B.S. Poster Competition at the Ag Genomics Conference

1st place in BS poster competition
Emily Kraus

ABSTRACT: G Protein-Coupled Receptors in the Genome of the Body Louse, Pediculus humanus

Emily C. Kraus1, J. Pagel VanZee1 , Catherine A. Hill1
1Purdue University, Department of Entomology, West Lafayette, IN, 47907

The human body louse, Pediculus humanus (Class Insecta; Order Phthiraptera; Suborder Anoplura) is an obligate, blood-feeding ectoparasite of humans. It is a serious pest of human health worldwide because it causes irritation and social embarrassment, and it transmits the causative agents of louse-borne relapsing fever and epidemic typhus. The P. humanus genome was sequenced and assembled in 2007, providing an important resource to understand P. humanus biology and identify new methods for control of lice and louse-borne diseases.

In this study, we used bioinformatic and phylogenetic approaches to identify, annotate and classify the repertoire of G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) in the P. humanus genome. GPCRs are a super-family of seven trans-membrane spanning receptors; their interaction with a wide variety of extra-cellular ligands initiates intra-cellular signal transduction cascades. GPCRs function in a range of sensory and neurological processes and are potential targets for development of novel insecticides. Pediculus has orthologs of many non-sensory and visual GPCRs identified in other invertebrates, and a smaller repertoire of these receptors compared to holometabolous insects suggesting conservation of GPCR-mediated processes across insect lineages. Our analysis has provided important insights into the evolution of insect GPCRs that facilitate our ongoing investigations for novel pediculicide targets.