In the battle against insect pests, new research indicates that it may all come down to the sense of smell. A group of Rockefeller University scientists who had previously identified a key gene essential for the sense of smell in fruit flies now shows that this genes function appears to be evolutionarily conserved across very different insect species.
Research by Leslie Vosshalls laboratory had previously shown that of 62 odorant-receptor proteins expressed by fruit flies, 61 are exclusively expressed in non-overlapping sub-populations of neurons, indicating that these proteins participate in sensing particular types of odors. However, one odorant receptor protein, Or83b, is found in almost all olfactory neurons and serves a general function in detecting odors. When the gene for Or83b is deleted, the flies cant smell.
In the new study, Vosshall, in collaboration with researchers from Sentigen Biosciences, showed that the function of Or83b is preserved in different insects. Although many odorant-receptor proteins appear to be species specific, there is a high degree of evolutionary conservation of the Or83b coding sequence among the fruit fly, the medfly (a citrus pest), the corn earworm moth (which damages corn and tobacco), and Anopheles gambiae, the malaria mosquito. When the medfly, moth, and mosquito versions (or "orthologues") of Or83b were expressed in fruit flies that were missing their own version of the gene, the flies sense of smell was restored, arguing not only that the genes sequence has been conserved over 250 million years of evolution but that the genes function in olfaction has also been conserved. Future designs of pesticides and disease-controlling insect repellents may be able to utilize this commonality to "blind" the insects to the smell of their prey.
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26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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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.
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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.
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An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
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26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy