Research article

BMC Genomics

, 6:114

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Identification and characterization of the fibrinogen-like domain of fibrinogen-related proteins in the mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, genomes

  • Xinguo WangAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • , Qin ZhaoAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-MadisonPromega Corp.
  • , Bruce M ChristensenAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison Email author 



The fibrinogen-like (FBG) domain, which consists of approximately 200 amino acid residues, has high sequence similarity to the C-terminal halves of fibrinogen β and γ chains. Fibrinogen-related proteins (FREPs), which contain FBG domains in their C-terminal region, are found universally in vertebrates and invertebrates. In invertebrates, FREPs are involved in immune responses and other aspects of physiology. To understand the complexity of this family in insects, we analyzed FREPs in the mosquito genome and made comparisons to FREPs in the fruitfly genome.


By using the genome data of the mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, 53 FREPs were identified, whereas only 20 members were found in the Drosophila melanogaster genome. Using sequence profile analysis, we found that FBG domains have high sequence similarity and are highly conserved throughout the FBG domain region. By secondary structure analysis and comparison, the FBG domains of FREPs are predicted to function in recognition of carbohydrates and their derivatives on the surface of microorganisms in innate immunity.


Detailed sequence and structural analysis discloses that the FREP family contains FBG domains that have high sequence similarity in the A. gambiae genome. Expansion of the FREP family in mosquitoes during evolutionary history is mainly accounted for by a major expansion of the FBG domain architecture. The characterization of the FBG domains in the FREP family is likely to aid in the experimental analysis of the ability of mosquitoes to recognize parasites in innate immunity and physiologies associated with blood feeding.