March 16, 2011
Proteins May Affect Behavior And Physiology Of Female Mosquitoes — From PLoS NTDs
Proteins could be used to develop new approaches for regulating mosquito reproduction, feeding, and behavior
Researchers have identified 93 seminal fluid proteins and 52 sperm male-derived proteins that include candidates likely to affect the behavior and physiology of female mosquitoes of the species, Aedes aegypti. The results of this research, conducted by Laura Sirot (now at the College of Wooster) and fellow researchers in the labs of Laura Harrington and Mariana Wolfner at Cornell University and Jos© Ribeiro at the National Institutes of Health, will be published on March 15th in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
"What we have been able to do is identify the proteins that males transfer to the female," says Sirot, "and 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." Some proteins are of particular interest because of their potential roles in modulating sperm fertilizing ability, as well as the role they might play in the synthesis of hormones and activating or deactivating other proteins. What this means, according to Sirot, is that scientists might be able to use these proteins to develop new approaches for regulating female reproduction, blood feeding, and mating behavior.
These approaches to mosquito control could be an alternative to the use of pesticides. Sirot and her fellow researchers are developing approaches which could provide a foundation for innovative new control strategies, such as reducing egg production and curbing the female's appetite for blood, which will ultimately reduce the spread of these life-threatening illnesses.
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