Background: Salivary cell secretion (SCS) plays a critical role in blood feeding by medicinal leeches, making them of use for certain medical purposes even today. Results: We annotated the Hirudo medicinalis genome and performed RNA-seq on salivary cells isolated from three closely related leech species, H. medicinalis, Hirudo orientalis, and Hirudo verbana. Differential expression analysis verified by proteomics identified salivary cell-specific gene expression, many of which encode previously unknown salivary components. However, the genes encoding known anticoagulants have been found to be expressed not only in salivary cells. The function-related analysis of the unique salivary cell genes enabled an update of the concept of interactions between salivary proteins and components of haemostasis. Conclusions: Here we report a genome draft of Hirudo medicinalis and describe identification of novel salivary proteins and new homologs of genes encoding known anticoagulants in transcriptomes of three medicinal leech species. Our data provide new insights in genetics of blood-feeding lifestyle in leeches.
- Leech H. medicinalis
- Systems biology