Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Second door discovered in war against mosquito-borne diseases

Date:
July 8, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
In the global war against disease-carrying mosquitoes, scientists have long believed that a single molecular door was the key target for insecticide. This door, however, is closing, giving mosquitoes the upper hand.

MSU researchers have discovered a second molecular door that could turn the tide against mosquito-borne diseases.
Credit: Kurt Stepnitz

In the global war against disease-carrying mosquitoes, scientists have long believed that a single molecular door was the key target for insecticide. This door, however, is closing, giving mosquitoes the upper hand.

In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers led by Michigan State University has discovered a second gateway that could turn the tide against the mosquitoes' growing advantage.

For many years, pyrethroid insecticides have been deployed in developing countries to fend off diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and more. They're so effective that they are the only insecticides the World Health Organization uses with their mosquito nets they distribute around the globe.

"Pyrethroids are effective because they eliminate mosquitoes while having few if any side effects on humans," said Yuzhe Du, MSU electrophysiologist and one of the lead authors. "Our discovery of a second receptor in the mosquitoes' sodium channel gives us a better understanding of how the insecticide works at a molecular level as well as could lead to ways to stem mosquitoes' resistance to pyrethroids."

Receptors on sodium channels act as doorways. Pyrethroids work by propping open the sodium channel. Mosquitoes don't die from the toxin, per se. They die from sodium overdose. With the door jammed wide open, their cells gulp down sodium, which overexcites their nervous system and eventually leads to paralysis and death.

In the last decade, growing resistance in mosquitoes has been detected in many countries. At the molecular level, resistance appears as mutations in the primary receptor in the sodium channel that allow mosquitoes to survive exposure to the insecticide. The discovery of the second receptor in the sodium channel, however, opens up more avenues to increase pyrethroids' effectiveness.

"One of the keys to the success of this research was our cloning of a mosquito sodium channel for the first time," said Ke Dong, MSU insect toxicologist and neurobiologist and the paper's senior author. "Another lead author of this study, Yoshiko Nomura, dedicated nearly one year to make this happen, which allowed Dr. Du to perform electrophysiological experiments with the clone."

The team then spent nearly two years to discover the new pyrethroid-binding site, she added.

The revelation not only explains much of pyrethroid resistance found in mosquito populations worldwide, but also helps answer why they affect insects but not humans and other mammals. Since this is a growing issue with cockroaches, bedbugs, fleas, potato beetles and other crop pests, the discovery could lead to benefits for the pest-control industry and farming.

"Our finding may ultimately improve global prediction and monitoring of pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes and other arthropod pests," Dong said. "It could have broad impacts in agriculture and medicine that affect people's lives, especially in developing countries."

Sheng Yang He, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator and an MSU University Distinguished Professor in the DOE Plant Research Laboratory and Plant Biology, contributed to the study. Additional co-authors include researchers from McMaster University (Canada), the Russian Academy of Sciences and Bayer CropScience (Germany).

The research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Second door discovered in war against mosquito-borne diseases." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708115144.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, July 8). Second door discovered in war against mosquito-borne diseases. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708115144.htm
Michigan State University. "Second door discovered in war against mosquito-borne diseases." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130708115144.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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