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 Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht A 155 carat diamond with 92 mm diameter
22.03.2017 | Universität Augsburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>