Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New class of insecticides offers safer, more targeted mosquito control

02.04.2015

Purdue researchers have identified a new class of chemical insecticides that could provide a safer, more selective means of controlling mosquitoes that transmit key infectious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever and elephantiasis.

Known as dopamine receptor antagonists, the chemicals beat out the neurotransmitter dopamine to lock into protein receptors that span the mosquito cell membrane.


Purdue researchers Catherine Hill and Val Watts are designing insecticides that disrupt key molecules in disease-transmitting mosquitoes.

Credit: Purdue University / Tom Campbell

Disrupting the mechanics of dopamine - which plays important roles in cell signaling, movement, development and complex behaviors - eventually leads to the insect's death.

The researchers used the mosquito genome to pinpoint chemicals that will be more selective than current insecticides, which bind readily to molecules in humans and non-target insects, said Catherine Hill, professor of entomology and Showalter Faculty Scholar.

"These are sophisticated designer drugs," she said. "They're like personalized medicine for mosquitoes - but in this case, the medicine is lethal."

Hill's team showed that DAR antagonists have high potency for both the larval and adult stages of the Aedes aegypti mosquito - which transmits yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya - and Culex quinquefasciatus, the vector of West Nile virus and the disfiguring disease elephantiasis.

Effective pest control has historically been important in slowing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. But overuse of antibiotics and insecticides has led to the rise of drug-resistant strains of infectious diseases and the emergence of mosquitoes that can withstand conventional pesticides, a "double whammy," Hill said.

"There's an urgent need for new insecticides," she said. "We are seeing a resurgence of infectious diseases that for the last 50 years we had the luxury of controlling with antibiotics and modern medicine. These diseases are increasingly going to become a problem for people everywhere."

The research team designed DAR antagonists to disrupt molecules that are crucial to mosquito survival. The chemicals are structurally distinct from existing insecticides and target a different biochemical path in the mosquito.

The team is mining a group of about 200 DAR antagonists to find the most promising chemicals for commercial products. The insecticides could be cost-effective compared with current products and would have low environmental impact because of their selectivity, Hill said.

The researchers are also taking steps to minimize the risk that the insecticides could bind with human dopamine receptors, said Val Watts, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology and co-author of the studies.

"Many of the compounds we've identified are selective for mosquito receptors versus human receptors - some at a more than one hundredfold," he said. "Also, some of these compounds are already used as treatments for diseases such as schizophrenia and depression. They are safely handled by physicians and pharmacists every day."

The tougher challenge may be ensuring the insecticides do not affect beneficial insects such as honeybees. While the researchers have identified chemicals that are highly selective for mosquito receptors, they are also exploring the possibility of heightening insecticide specificity by using allosteric modulators, molecules that act like dimmer switches, dialing up or down the cell's response to dopamine.

Similar protein receptors exist in the African malaria mosquito, the sand fly and the tsetse fly, suggesting that DAR antagonists could help control these disease-transmitting insects as well.

"We're going after all the big ones," Hill said.

###

The paper on the effectiveness of DAR antagonists in C. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes was published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and is available at http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003515

A proof-of-concept study on using DAR antagonists to control Ae. aegypti was published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and is available at http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/352/1/53.long

Funding for the research was provided by a U.S. Department of Defense Deployed War Fighter Project award, a Purdue Research Foundation Trask Innovation award, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, which is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Science.

Media Contact

Natalie van Hoose
nvanhoos@purdue.edu
765-496-2050

 @PurdueUnivNews

http://www.purdue.edu/ 

Natalie van Hoose | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: aegypti antibiotics chemicals diseases dopamine fly insecticides insects mosquito mosquito control mosquitoes

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>