Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A&M researcher studying genes of mosquitoes

25.03.2004


Texas A&M University researchers are studying the genes of the mosquito species, Aedes aegypti, the carrier for both dengue and yellow fever, hoping to keep deadly mosquito-borne diseases at bay.


Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio in her laboratory where cell lines are maintained in serum and under sterile conditions in the tissue culture laboratory. Cell lines need to be split under the hood. (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station photo by Edith Chenault)



Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, associate professor of entomology with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, is leading a team of researchers studying the hormone-controlled mechanism by which mosquitoes excrete waste.

"This research has far-reaching implications for the discovery of new alternatives for insect control," Pietrantonio said.


Presently, a human vaccine for yellow fever exists, but none for dengue.

The researchers are hoping the studies will reveal how the female mosquito’s system produces a diuretic response during and after a blood meal. Aedes aegypti feed during the daytime and need a blood meal to reproduce. The blood meal triggers vitellogenesis (formation of the yolk of an egg) and oogenesis (egg formation).

"They feed on humans and animals, and if the blood meal is successful, then reproduction begins," Pietrantonio said. "They can lay eggs for one to two days, and then they can feed again. The reproductive potential of the female is quite significant."

As mosquitoes feed, they begin excreting a clear liquid very quickly.

"Diuresis, or the production of urine, is very fast. If they are still engorged, they fly very poorly and susceptible to being slapped by a human or eaten by a predator," she explained.

"We want to know how the mosquito gets rid of all this water so fast. It is very complex process."

To do so, researchers are cloning mosquito genes and studying cell receptors, the proteins in the cell membranes involved in the transfer of information from one area of the cell to another. The process is regulated by hormones.

Hormones are released from the brain and nervous system, bind to the receptors and "tell these tissues" to activate a variety of proteins that ultimately cause fluid secretion.

"If we disrupt the hormonal communication, the tissues will not know what to do," she explained. In this case, an insecticide targeting the hormone receptor can be developed to disrupt the secretion of fluid.

"You can be very precise and very selective (with an insecticide like this)," she said. "One wants to be very selective in what will be killed or harmed. Not just any chemical will do, especially if you are going to put something very close to humans. It is a long-term research that has potential applications for vector-transmitted diseases for which there is no vaccine."

The first reported epidemics of dengue fever occurred in the late-1700s in Asia, Africa and North America. South Texas experienced its largest outbreak of dengue fever in nearly 20 years in October 1999, with more then 100 cases reported in Texas and Mexico.

Dengue viruses are transmitted by the mosquito during the feeding process. Dengue is very painful – patients feel as though their bones are breaking – but is rarely fatal. However, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome are often fatal.

Yellow fever symptoms are fever, chills, prostration, jaundice and in severe cases, internal hemorrhaging, coma and death. It is endemic to the tropic and subtropics, and the disease occurs in sporadic outbreaks. Immunization is an effective preventive measure, Pietrantonio said.

But, "the control of dengue is achieved by killing the vector, the mosquito," she said. "We need to know more about the weak points of the mosquito to find new ways of control."

Edith A. Chenault | Texas A&M University
Further information:
http://agnews.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/ENTO/Mar2304a.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The Secret of the Rock Drawings
24.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Chemical juggling with three particles
24.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>