Navigation Links
K-State researchers study insects' immune system

How insects avoid getting diseases they can carry and spread to humans is the focus of research at Kansas State University.

Mike Kanost, university distinguished professor of biochemistry and head of the department of biochemistry, and researchers in his lab are studying how insects protect themselves against infection. They think the answer lies in insects' blood, specifically proteins.

The researchers have made progress in understanding which molecules are present in the blood and their functions. The group also has identified proteins involved in the immune response that cause melanin - a coating of black pigment - to be synthesized and deposited on the surface of the pathogen.

The goal of their research is to understand how insects recognize infection caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and fungi, and the pathway of reactions that follow in the immune system.

Studying the immune system of insects is important because it can lead to useful knowledge for the improvement of biological pesticides, Kanost said. Such a method of pest control only kills specific insects and is safe for humans.

A recent development for Kanost's group is the transition from studying caterpillars to studying mosquitoes, which have a more direct impact on humans. Understanding how proteins in mosquitoes' blood function in immune responses may help identify ways to disrupt disease transmission by blood-feeding insects. Knowledge gained from examining caterpillars is being used to understand the mosquito's immune system, Kanost said.

For a mosquito to bite one human, acquire a disease and then transfer it to the next person it bites poses an interesting concept for researchers. For the disease to spread, it has to survive for a certain period of time in the mosquito. The question is, how does the pathogen survive?

For a disease like malaria, the parasite has to live in an insect's blood for part of its life cycle, all the while exposed to the mosquito's immune system. A successful parasite has to avoid the immune system or be able to defend against it. Understanding how a pathogen can survive might result in ways to disrupt the transmission of diseases, Kanost said.

"Insects are the most abundant kind of animal," he said. "They're very successful animals. If you want to understand biology, understanding insects is important.

"We're at a point now where we understand at least some of what the immune responses are but how they are regulated is a big question we need to study," Kanost said. "To me, one of the aspects that's interesting is even if we understand the immune system of one species of insect very well, there are millions of species of insects and they're all different from each other. Even though they will have some things in common, there's a lot to do for many lifetimes for people doing research on biochemistry in insects."

Researchers involved with the study include Maureen Gorman, research assistant professor in biochemistry, and Chansak Suwanchaichinda and Shufei Zhuang, both postdoctoral biochemistry research associates.

K-State students taking part in the research are Ana Fraire, junior in biochemistry and pre-medicine, Liberal; and Craig Doan, sophomore in biochemistry, Rose Ochieng, senior in biochemistry and pre-medicine, and Emily Ragan, graduate student in biochemistry, all of Manhattan.


'"/>

Source:Kansas State University


Related biology news :

1. K-State professors discover enzyme responsible for creation of a beetles hard shell
2. K-State researchers study gene regulation in insects
3. K-Staters design and build a low-cost remote sensing tool for environmental studies
4. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
5. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
6. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
7. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
8. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
9. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
10. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
11. Agilent Technologies releases automated literature search tool for biology researchers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 The Department of ... awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned ... Decatur was selected for the most ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost ... to a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global ... By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", ... 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing security ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... 2016   EyeLock LLC , a market leader ... of an IoT Center of Excellence in ... development of embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s ... and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the ... DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology to deliver a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), ... new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced ... (MoMA) in New York City . ... participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater ... Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today in STEM ... who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of ... dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June 23, 2016 ... trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial ... S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), ... Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... of the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to ... health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created ... a key obstacle for many early stage organizations - ... of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" ...
Breaking Biology Technology: