Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identification Of Carbon Dioxide Receptors In Insects May Help Fight Infectious Disease

Date:
December 14, 2006
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Mosquitoes use the carbon dioxide people exhale as a way to identify a potential food source. But when they bite, they can pass on a number of dangerous infectious diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever. Now, reporting in Nature, Leslie Vosshall's laboratory at Rockefeller University has identified the two molecular receptors in fruit flies that help these insects detect carbon dioxide. The findings could prove to be important against the fight against global infectious disease.

Carbon dioxide-sensitive neurons expressing Gr21a (green) and Gr63a (red), proteins that together (white) are necessary for carbon dioxide detection. The neurons target a specific region of the fly brain, which is dedicated to processing the smell of carbon dioxide.
Credit: Vosshall Laboratory

Mosquitoes don't mind morning breath. They use the carbon dioxide people exhale as a way to identify a potential food source. But when they bite, they can pass on a number of dangerous infectious diseases, such as malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile encephalitis. Now, reporting in today's advance online publication in Nature, Leslie Vosshall's laboratory at Rockefeller University has identified the two molecular receptors in fruit flies that help these insects detect carbon dioxide. The findings could prove to be important against the fight against global infectious disease.

"Insects are especially sensitive to carbon dioxide, using it to track food sources and assess their surrounding environment," says Vosshall, Chemers Family Associate Professor and head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior at Rockefeller. "The neurons in insects that respond to carbon dioxide were already known, but the molecular mechanism by which these neurons sense this gas was a mystery."

One protein, called Gr21a, was previously known to be expressed in the carbon dioxide responsive neurons, which are in the antennae of the fruit fly. Since in the fly, chemosensory receptors usually work together as a pair of unrelated proteins, Walton Jones, a former biomedical fellow and first author of the paper, began by looking for other members of the gustatory receptor family, and found that the Gr63a protein was always co-expressed with Gr21a, both in the larva and in the adult fly.

"I went on to look at the malaria mosquito and found two homologues of the fly genes, GPRGR22 and GPRGR24. They are also co-expressed in the mosquito's maxillary palp, the appendage mosquitoes use to sense carbon dioxide," says Jones.

Using genetic manipulation, Jones was able to show that both Gr21a and Gr63a are all that is needed for a fly neuron to sense carbon dioxide. He took neurons that did not normally respond to carbon dioxide and found that only if he expressed both Gr21a and Gr63a together, those neurons now became excited by the gas. He also showed that when Gr63a is mutated, the mutant flies no longer respond to the high levels of carbon dioxide that wild type flies avoid.

These molecules are the first membrane-associated proteins that have been shown to sense a gas. All previously described gas sensors have been cytoplasmic. "Though we don't know what other proteins might be involved in the signaling pathway, the identification of the carbon dioxide receptor provides a potential target for the design of inhibitors that would act as an insect repellent, "says Vosshall. "These inhibitors would help fight global infectious disease by reducing the attraction of blood-feeding insects to humans."

This research was supported in part by a grant from the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative, the National Institutes of Health, an NIH Medical Scientist Training Program grant, the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research and the Human Frontier Science Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Identification Of Carbon Dioxide Receptors In Insects May Help Fight Infectious Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213175159.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2006, December 14). Identification Of Carbon Dioxide Receptors In Insects May Help Fight Infectious Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213175159.htm
Rockefeller University. "Identification Of Carbon Dioxide Receptors In Insects May Help Fight Infectious Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061213175159.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins