Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mayo Researcher Discovers Target Site for Developing Mosquito Pesticides

21.12.2006
A Mayo Clinic researcher has discovered a target site within malaria-carrying mosquitoes that could be used to develop pesticides that are toxic to the Anopheles gambiae mosquito and other mosquito species. It would not affect humans and other mammals. If supported by further studies, the findings could offer a safer and more effective control of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria.

Yuan-Ping Pang, Ph.D., a chemist and expert in computer-aided molecular design at Mayo Clinic, identified two unique amino acid residues called cysteine (286) and arginine (339). These exist in three mosquito species and the German cockroach.

Dr. Pang’s findings are significant because the residues could potentially be used as a target site for a pesticide that would incapacitate only insects that carry these residues, which do not exist in mammals. The findings appear in the current issue of PLoS ONE, a new, peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science.

“These findings suggest that new pesticides can be designed to target only the mosquito enzyme. Such pesticides could be used in small quantities to harm mosquitoes, but not mammals,” Dr. Pang says. “We’ve developed a blueprint for a pesticide that could i ncapacitate malaria-carrying mosquitoes. We are currently making a prototype of the new pesticide.”

Most pesticides today work by crippling the serine residue, which is another amino acid of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase and is located at the active site of the enzyme. This serine residue is present in both insects and mammals and therefore, any pesticide targeting this amino acid affects both insects and mammals.

Acetylcholinesterase is a vital enzyme to both insects and mammals. It breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is a primary neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with memory and cognition.

Dr. Pang, director of Mayo Clinic’s Computer-Aided Molecular Design Laboratory, studied the genetic makeup of all known acetylcholinesterases in 73 species, including humans. He identified residues that only exist in the mosquito version of the acetylcholinesterase. To identify which of these residues is susc eptible to pesticides, he developed a three-dimensional model of mosquito acetylcholinesterase. With this three-dimensional model in hand, Dr. Pang learned how residues function in a way never before possible.

He found that the cysteine and arginine residues were located at the opening of the active site of the mosquito acetylcholinesterase. An active site is a pocket in an enzyme where a fast chemical reaction takes place to break down a molecule or build a new molecule.

Previous studies by Dr. Pang and researchers elsewhere found that the cysteine residue acts as a hook that could tether a small molecule in the active site of an enzyme and permanently damage the enzyme. This led Dr. Pang to believe the cysteine and arginine residues could be targeted by a pesticide that would not affect humans and other mammals.

“While a three-dimensional model of the mosquito enzyme acetylcholinesterase has been reported by other scientists, no mosqu ito-specific residue at the active site of acetylcholinesterase has been reported until now,” Dr. Pang says. “These findings suggest that a chemically stable molecule (to be used as a safer pesticide) could be made to react with the cysteine residue in the mosquito enzyme acetylcholinesterase and irreversibly inhibit the enzyme.”

The three-dimensional model Dr. Pang developed was created with a powerful computing system called a terascale system. He built the system with 590 personal computers. Terascale refers to computational power measured in the unit of teraflops, which is a processor capable of a speed of one trillion floating-point operations per second. A single teraflops computer is comparable to a computer that can search at least 50,000 Manhattan phonebooks in one second. Terascale systems are among the most powerful computers available today.

Dr. Pang published similar findings in October 2006 in which he described a potenti ally safer and more effective method for controlling crop-destroying aphids. The study was published in the journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters.

Amy Reyes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000058

Further reports about: Acetylcholinesterase Pang cysteine pesticide residue three-dimensional

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

nachricht CWRU researchers find a chemical solution to shrink digital data storage
22.06.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>