Navigation Links
ARS study provides a better understanding of how mosquitoes find a host
Date:3/9/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

The potentially deadly yellow-fever-transmitting Aedes aegypti mosquito detects the specific chemical structure of a compound called octenol as one way to find a mammalian host for a blood meal, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists report.

Scientists have long known that mosquitoes can detect octenol, but this most recent finding by ARS entomologists Joseph Dickens and Jonathan Bohbot explains in greater detail how Ae. aegypti--and possibly other mosquito species--accomplish this.

Dickens and Bohbot, at the ARS Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., have shown that Ae. aegypti taps into the "right-handed" and "left-handed" structural nature of octenol, which is emitted by people, cattle and other mammals. This ability to detect the "handedness" of molecules has been shown in mammals, but the discovery is the first case of scientists finding out how it works in an insect, according to the researchers.

When they hunt for a blood meal, mosquitoes hone in on a variety of chemicals, including carbon dioxide, lactic acid, ammonia and octenol. Octenol is one of many carbon-based compounds that have a molecular structure that can take on either a "right-handed" or "left-handed" form. Each form is a mirror image of the other, and a form's "handedness" is determined by how its molecular bonds are assembled.

The scientists used frog eggs to help them make their discovery. They injected RNA from Ae. aegypti into the frog eggs, allowing the egg membranes to mimic the mosquito's ability to detect octenol. Then they attached microelectrodes to the frog egg cell membranes, passed octenol over them and recorded the electrical signals stimulated by the odors.

They ran the tests using both the right- and left-handed forms of octenol. The scientists found heightened electrical activity when the membrane was exposed to the right-handed form, and weakened activity when it was exposed to the left-handed form.

There are many natural compounds that can take on either a right-handed or left-handed form. While the effects of those differences on many plants and animals remains a mystery, the report, published in PLoS ONE, shows the effects of octenol's dual structure on the yellow fever mosquito and adds to scientists' understanding of how mosquitoes sense the world around them. It also may open the door to speedier development of better mosquito repellents and traps, according to Dickens.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dennis O'Brien
dennis.obrien@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1624
United States Department of Agriculture-Research, Education, and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Musk ox population decline due to climate, not to humans, study finds
2. Study shows potential for using algae to produce human therapeutic proteins
3. Study identifies key cause of chronic leukemia progression
4. Study shows woody plant encroachment has increased stream flow in the Edwards Plateau
5. New study shows teens who drink 100 percent fruit juice have more nutritious diets overall
6. Study: Climate change one factor in malaria spread
7. Kids lose pounds, gain fitness in Houston study
8. An apple a day? Study shows soluble fiber boosts immune system
9. MMS and NOAA scientists study prey of Gulf of Mexico sperm whales
10. Study finds dirty air in California causes millions worth of medical care each year
11. New technique allows study of protein folding, dynamics in living cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... Feb. 13, 2017 Former 9/11 Commission border ... Committee, Janice Kephart of Identity Strategy Partners, ... Donald Trump,s "Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From ... 2017):  "As President Trump,s ,Travel Ban, Executive ... now essentially banned the travel ban, it is important ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... The global ... reach $11.4 billion by 2021, growing at a compound annual ... - An overview of the global markets for synthetic biology. ... estimates for 2016, and projections of compound annual growth rates ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , February 7, 2017 Ipsidy ... Solutions Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a ... transaction processing services, is pleased to announce the following ... Effective January 31, 2017, Philip D. ... Directors, CEO and President.  An experienced payment industry professional ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 23, 2017 ... a leading digital health company, and Digital ... telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, announce they are ... DN Telehealth maximizes collaboration compatibility ... extending consultations beyond a physical clinical setting to ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ATLANTA , Feb. 23, 2017  In Atlanta, it ... art, fashion, and culture intertwine to create an expressive and ... often reflect this energy and contribute to it. ... , Hair Fairies seeks to carry on that ... The Atlanta salon is the newest ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... David Nolte, PhD accepted Purdue University’s ... Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Indiana. , The top commercialization award ... and success with, commercializing discoveries from Purdue research. “This award is truly an ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... SAN DIEGO and SAN FRANCISCO ... , a privately-held regenerative medicine company, and Beyond Type ... living with type 1 diabetes, today announced a grant ... develop a functional cure for type 1 and other ... decade, ViaCyte has been developing innovative stem cell-derived cell ...
Breaking Biology Technology: