Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bad news for mosquitoes: Scent receptor research may lead to better traps, repellents

Date:
February 4, 2010
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Researchers have found more than two dozen scent receptors in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes that detect compounds in human sweat, a finding that may help scientists to develop new ways to combat a disease that kills 1 million people annually.

Female Anopheles gambiae mosquito feeding on a human host.
Credit: CDC/Jim Gathany

Researchers have found more than two dozen scent receptors in malaria-transmitting mosquitoes that detect compounds in human sweat, a finding that may help scientists to develop new ways to combat a disease that kills 1 million people annually.

These olfactory receptors in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae offer scientists potential new targets for repelling, confusing or attracting into traps the mosquitoes that spread a disease afflicting up to 500 million people across a broad swath of the world's tropical regions, according to authors of the article published online Feb. 3 in the journal Nature.

"The world desperately needs new ways of controlling these mosquitoes, ways that are effective, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly," said John Carlson, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale and senior author of the study. "Some of these receptors could be excellent targets for controlling mosquito behavior."

While it has long been known that mosquitoes are attracted to human scents, just how the mosquito's olfactory system detects the different chemical elements of human odor has been unknown.

"Mosquitoes find us through their sense of smell, but we know very little about how they do this," Carlson said. "Here in the United States, mosquitoes are a source of annoyance, but in much of the world they're a source of death."

Carlson's lab identified the first insect odor receptors in 1999 in studies of the fruit fly. The Yale team then found an ingenious way to use the fruit fly to study how the mosquito olfactory system works: They used mutant flies that were missing an odor receptor. Under the leadership of Allison Carey, an M.D./Ph.D. candidate in Carlson's lab and lead author of the study, the researchers systematically activated genes of 72 mosquito odor receptors in fruit fly olfactory cells that lacked their own receptors. The engineered flies were then exposed to a battery of scent compounds, and the responses conferred by each receptor were analyzed. Over the course of the project, Carey recorded 27,000 electrical responses in the genetically engineered fly/mosquito olfactory system to the library of scents.

Particularly strong responses were recorded from 27 receptors -- and most of these receptors responded to chemical compounds found in human sweat.

"We're now screening for compounds that interact with these receptors," Carlson said. "Compounds that jam these receptors could impair the ability of mosquitoes to find us. Compounds that excite some of these receptors could help lure mosquitoes into traps or repel them. The best lures or repellents may be cocktails of multiple compounds."

Carey says that more knowledge about mosquito behavior and odor reception will help develop more effective traps and repellents.

Other authors were Guirong Wang and Laurence Zwiebel of Vanderbilt University, and Chih-Ying Su of Yale University. The Vanderbilt team is also pursuing additional strategies to characterize mosquito odor receptors and together with colleagues at Yale and other institutions, pursue the development of novel attractants and repellents.

The study was funded by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through the Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative to Vanderbilt.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Allison F. Carey, Guirong Wang, Chih-Ying Su, Laurence J. Zwiebel & John R. Carlson. Odorant reception in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Nature, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nature08834

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Bad news for mosquitoes: Scent receptor research may lead to better traps, repellents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203131358.htm>.
Yale University. (2010, February 4). Bad news for mosquitoes: Scent receptor research may lead to better traps, repellents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203131358.htm
Yale University. "Bad news for mosquitoes: Scent receptor research may lead to better traps, repellents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100203131358.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

Fake Dogs Scare Real Geese from Wis. Park

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Parks officials in Stevens Point, Wisconsin had a fowl problem. Canadian Geese were making a mess of a park, so officials enlisted cardboard versions of man's best friend. (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