Researchers at Cornell University have uncovered a chemical ballet that takes place between aedes aegypti mosquitoes during sex. The study, published today in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, found that more than 100 proteins in male sperm permanently alter a female’s tendencies to feed, produce eggs and mate.
The paper’s lead author, Laura Sirot, a research associate at Cornell, did the work in the labs of co-authors Mariana Wolfner, professor of molecular biology and genetics, and Laura Harrington, associate professor of entomology. Sirot, now a assistant professor at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, also worked with José Ribeiro at the National Institutes of Health.
While previous research by this team identified some reproductive proteins produced in male mosquitoes, “this is the first study to identify the male proteins that are actually transferred to the female” during mating, said Wolfner.
By isolating these proteins, researchers said they may one day develop a birth control approach for female mosquitoes that spread the dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. There is currently no effective treatment for dengue fever, a potentially lethal infection that affects millions of people each year.
The researchers found 93 seminal fluid proteins and 52 sperm proteins in the females. Eventually, researchers might be able to use these proteins to develop innovative mosquito control strategies, such as reducing egg production and curbing the female’s appetite for blood, which could ultimately reduce the spread of mosquito-borne, life-threatening illnesses.
“This is an exciting new avenue for identifying ultimate targets to reduce mosquito vector populations,” said Harrington. “Ultimately, we plan to select the most promising candidate proteins as chemical targets or as a focus for the development of other methods for vector control.”
Next, the team will determine which proteins have major effects on the female’s physiology. In the lab, they plan to generate mosquitoes that fail to make each of these proteins, mate those males with females and observe whether the females’ responses are perturbed.
“By distinguishing between male-derived and female-derived proteins within the female reproductive tract, we can begin to determine which male-derived proteins affect the behavior and physiology of the females, and how they do it,” said Sirot, now an assistant professor of biology at the College of Wooster.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within the National Institutes of Health, and from Hatch funds to Harrington and Wolfner.
Syl Kacapyr | Newswise Science News
Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy