Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Chemistry of Mosquito Sex Could be Key to Controlling Diseases

17.03.2011
Enshrouded in the sex life of a mosquito is a world of intricacies that may reveal the key to controlling diseases such West Nile virus and dengue fever.

Researchers at Cornell University have uncovered a chemical ballet that takes place between aedes aegypti mosquitoes during sex. The study, published today in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, found that more than 100 proteins in male sperm permanently alter a female’s tendencies to feed, produce eggs and mate.

The paper’s lead author, Laura Sirot, a research associate at Cornell, did the work in the labs of co-authors Mariana Wolfner, professor of molecular biology and genetics, and Laura Harrington, associate professor of entomology. Sirot, now a assistant professor at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, also worked with José Ribeiro at the National Institutes of Health.

While previous research by this team identified some reproductive proteins produced in male mosquitoes, “this is the first study to identify the male proteins that are actually transferred to the female” during mating, said Wolfner.

By isolating these proteins, researchers said they may one day develop a birth control approach for female mosquitoes that spread the dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. There is currently no effective treatment for dengue fever, a potentially lethal infection that affects millions of people each year.

The researchers found 93 seminal fluid proteins and 52 sperm proteins in the females. Eventually, researchers might be able to use these proteins to develop innovative mosquito control strategies, such as reducing egg production and curbing the female’s appetite for blood, which could ultimately reduce the spread of mosquito-borne, life-threatening illnesses.

“This is an exciting new avenue for identifying ultimate targets to reduce mosquito vector populations,” said Harrington. “Ultimately, we plan to select the most promising candidate proteins as chemical targets or as a focus for the development of other methods for vector control.”

Next, the team will determine which proteins have major effects on the female’s physiology. In the lab, they plan to generate mosquitoes that fail to make each of these proteins, mate those males with females and observe whether the females’ responses are perturbed.

“By distinguishing between male-derived and female-derived proteins within the female reproductive tract, we can begin to determine which male-derived proteins affect the behavior and physiology of the females, and how they do it,” said Sirot, now an assistant professor of biology at the College of Wooster.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within the National Institutes of Health, and from Hatch funds to Harrington and Wolfner.

Syl Kacapyr | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>