Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC Davis scientists discover exact receptor for DEET that repels mosquitoes

29.10.2014

DEET has been the gold standard of insect repellents for more than six decades, and now researchers led by a University of California, Davis, scientist have discovered the exact odorant receptor that repels them.

They also have identified a plant defensive compound that might mimic DEET, a discovery that could pave the way for better and more affordable insect repellents. Findings from the study appear in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Biochemist Walter Leal has discovered which receptor on mosquito antennae detects DEET, making it an effective repellant. (Kathy Keatley Garvey/UC Davis photo)

More than 200 million people worldwide use DEET, developed by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and patented by the U.S. Army in 1946.

“Mosquitoes are considered the most deadly animals on the planet, but unfortunately, not everyone who needs this repellent can afford to use it, and not all who can afford it can use it due to its undesirable properties such as an unpleasant odor,” said lead author Professor Walter Leal of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

“Vector-borne diseases are major health problems for travelers and people living in endemic regions,” Leal said. “Among the most notorious vectors are mosquitoes that transmit the protozoan parasites causing malaria and viruses that cause infections, such as dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and encephalitis.”

How mosquitoes are repelled

Mosquitoes detect scents with olfactory receptors on their antennae. The researchers examined two families of olfactory receptors of the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, which transmits diseases such as West Nile virus.

One receptor group, “ionotropic receptors,” normally detects acids, bases and other water-soluble compounds. The researchers discovered, however, that a receptor from the odorant receptor group is directly activated by DEET.

They also detected a link between DEET and the compound methyl jasmonate, suggesting that DEET might work by mimicking a defensive chemical found in plants.

Dan Strickman, senior program officer for Vector Control at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program, said, “We are at a very exciting time for research on insect repellents.” (The Gates Foundation was not involved in the study.)

“For decades, the field concentrated on screening compounds for activity, with little or no understanding of how chemicals interacted with mosquitoes to discourage biting. Use of modern techniques that combine molecular biology, biochemistry and physiology has generated evidence on how mosquitoes perceive odors,” Strickman said.

Other researchers on the team were project scientist Pingxi Xu, postdoctoral scholar Young-Moo Choo, and agricultural and environmental chemistry graduate student Alyssa De La Rosa.

Mosquito researcher Anthony Cornel, an associate professor with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier, provided mosquitoes that allowed the Leal lab to duplicate his mosquito colony at UC Davis. Richard Benton of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, shared his flies, Drosophila plasmids, also part of the research.

The work was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health.

For more about this study, see the Department of Entomology and Nematology website at: http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Additional information:

Media contact(s):

Pat Bailey | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=11071

Further reports about: Biology Cellular DEET Entomology diseases insect mosquito mosquitoes olfactory receptors receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>