Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Malaria parasite manipulates host's scent

01.07.2014

Malaria parasites alter the chemical odor signal of their hosts to attract mosquitos and better spread their offspring, according to researchers, who believe this scent change could be used as a diagnostic tool.

"Malaria-infected mice are more attractive to mosquitos than uninfected mice," said Mark Mescher, associate professor of entomology, Penn State. "They are the most attractive to these mosquito vectors when the disease is most transmissible."

Malaria in humans and animals is caused by parasites and can be spread only by an insect vector, a mosquito. The mosquito ingests the parasite with a blood meal, and the parasite creates the next generation in the mosquito's gut. These nascent parasites travel to the mosquito's salivary glands and are passed to the host during the next meal.

"We were most interested in individuals that are infected with the malaria parasite but are asymptomatic," said Consuelo De Moraes, professor of entomology, Penn State. "Asymptomatic people can still transmit the disease unless they are treated, so if we can identify them we may be able to better control the disease."

The researchers found that using a mouse malaria model, the mosquitos were more attracted to infected mice, even when the mice were otherwise asymptomatic. They report their findings today (June 30) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers, who also included Nina M. Stanczyk, former postdoctoral fellow; Heike S. Betz, research technologist, entomology; Hannier Pulido, graduate student in entomology; Derek G. Sim, technician, senior research assistant, biology; and Andrew F. Read, Alumni Professor in the Biological Sciences and Professor of Entomology, all of Penn State, also showed that several individual compounds whose concentrations were altered by malaria infection contributed to the increase in attractiveness to mosquitoes.

To eliminate other factors such as carbon dioxide production and body temperature as an attractant, the researchers extracted the body scent from the mice and showed that the changes in the scent alone altered the attraction of mosquitoes.

"Mosquitos wouldn't opt to carry the malaria parasite because it isn't good for the mosquito," said De Moraes. "Probably the parasite is not only manipulating the mice to alter their scent, but the mosquitos to be more attracted to the infected scent."

While the mosquitos were not attracted to mice that had acute malaria symptoms, they were particularly attracted to mice during a period of recovery when the transmissible stage of the malaria parasite was present at high levels.

In regions where malaria is prevalent, significant numbers of people harbor asymptomatic infections but remain able to transmit the disease to others. The researchers hope this altered scent profile might help to identify those needing treatment.

"If this holds true in humans, we may be able to screen humans for the chemical scent profile using this biomarker to identify carriers," said Mescher.

###

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration supported this work.

A'ndrea Elyse Messer | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

Further reports about: concentrations dioxide malaria mosquito parasite temperature

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Family tree for orchids explains their astonishing variability
04.09.2015 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Gone with the wind: A new project focusses on atmospheric input of phosphorus into the Baltic Sea
04.09.2015 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy

In a survey of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass.

By nailing down what percentage of stars have a particular mass within a cluster, or the Initial Mass Function (IMF), scientists can better interpret the light...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Im Focus: Increasingly severe disturbances weaken world's temperate forests

Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Together - Work - Experience

03.09.2015 | Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ion implanted, co-annealed, screen-printed 21% efficient n-PERT solar cells with a bifaciality >97%

04.09.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Casting of SiSiC: new perspectives for chemical and plant engineering

04.09.2015 | Machine Engineering

Extremely thin ceramic components made possible by extrusion

04.09.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>