UC Riverside study uses gene-editing tool to disrupt serotonin receptor linked to egg production in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals, killing thousands of people and causing millions of illnesses each year. To be able to reproduce and become effective disease carriers, mosquitoes must first attain optimal body size and nutritional status.
A pair of researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have succeeded in using CRISPR-Cas9, a powerful tool for altering DNA sequences and modifying gene function, to decrease mosquito body size, moving the research one step closer to eliminating mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and Zika virus.
The researchers succeeded in postponing mosquito development, shortening the animal’s lifespan, retarding egg development, and diminishing fat accumulation.
Alexander Raikhel, a distinguished professor of entomology, and Lin Ling, a postdoctoral scholar working with Raikhel, used CRISPR-Cas9 to disrupt the serotonin receptor Aa5HT2B in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the vectors of dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika virus.
“Aa5HT2B controls insulin-like peptides,” Raikhel said. “We were able to uncover the different roles that these peptides play in controlling body size and metabolism, and disrupt the gene associated with this receptor.”
The team accomplished this, Raikhel said, by uncovering a key molecular pathway determining mosquito body size and metabolism.
“Mosquitoes of small size with diminished fat resources mature later and live shorter lives than nonmodified mosquitoes,” he said. “Thus, these genetically engineered mosquitoes have low reproductive capacity and ability to transmit disease pathogens. These features of CRISR-Cas9 mutant mosquitoes can be exploited for developing novel mosquito control approaches. Many challenges remain on the road, however, toward achieving this goal.”
Study results appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Raikhel, the UC Presidential Chair and the Mir Mulla Endowed Chair in the Department of Entomology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, explained that disease-transmitting female mosquitoes require a vertebrate blood meal to produce their eggs because egg development occurs only after a diet change from carbohydrate-rich nectar to protein-rich vertebrate blood.
Blood feeding, Raikhel added, boosts serotonin concentration and increases the level of the serotonin receptor Aa5HT2B in the “fat-body,” the insect analog of vertebrate liver and adipose tissue. A target for hormones, the fat-body is the main nutrient sensor in insects. It links nutritional state, metabolism, and growth.
“Our study provides for the first time a link — the serotonin receptor Aa5HT2B — between blood feeding and the serotonin signaling that is specific to the fat-body,” he said. “Aa5HT2B mediates serotonin action. Until now, the mechanisms of serotonin action specific to the fat-body were poorly understood. Understanding regulatory mechanisms that underlie determination of body size and metabolism is important for developing novel approaches to control mosquito populations and the diseases they carry.”
One important question for further research is how CRISPR-Cas9 gene modification could be introduced into the wild mosquito population.
“This question is a topic of intense research in other laboratories,” Raikhel said. “At UCR, we are continuing our efforts in identifying other key processes important for mosquito development that could be exploited for mosquito control.”
The Latest on: Mosquito control
via Google News
The Latest on: Mosquito control
- Researchers use gene editing to render male mosquitoes infertile and slow disease spreadon August 23, 2021 at 7:12 pm
Mosquitos spread viruses that cause potentially deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue fever and yellow fever. New U.S. Army-funded research uses gene editing to render certain male mosquitoes infertile ...
- Mosquito spraying comes to Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardenson August 23, 2021 at 4:01 pm
To reduce the risk of West Nile virus and mosquito activity in general, the Health Department plans to conduct an adulticide treatment in several sections of Brooklyn on Aug. 26. While mosquitoes ...
- Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control Districton August 23, 2021 at 2:13 pm
Summer is here and so are mosquitoes! As people spend more time outdoors they are sure to come in contact with mosquitoes which are not only a nuisance, but also a public health concern because ...
- Mosquito Spraying To Avert West Nile Virus In Phoenixville Areaon August 23, 2021 at 1:33 pm
Mosquito spraying is planned on Wednesday night for Phoenixville Borough and Schuylkill Township after positive tests for West Nile Virus.
- Oswego To Get Sprayed Down For Mosquito Control Thursday Nighton August 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm
The spraying, done by the village's mosquito control contractor Clarke, will start at dusk and continue into the morning.
- Town and state officials frustrated with mosquito opt-out denialson August 23, 2021 at 9:23 am
Town and state officials are expressing confusion and disappointment with a lack of information regarding the state’s mosquito control opt-out application process, after nine Hampshire and Franklin ...
- Combatting One Microbe with Another — Using Wolbachia-infected Mosquitoes to Prevent Dengueon August 22, 2021 at 4:49 am
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) describes a novel approach to combat dengue virus infection. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease common to more than 100 countries ...
- Calls for service way down ... does that mean mosquito activity is down, too?on August 20, 2021 at 7:05 pm
Last summer, employees at Kern Mosquito and Vector Control District received nearly 4,000 calls for service from residents who were alarmed by the aggressive new mosquito known as Aedes aegypti, ...
- Hyderabad household spends Rs.300 to Rs.600 a month for mosquito controlon August 19, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Hyderabad: A mosquito weighs barely 2.5 milligrams. But the tiny size and weight apart, they are deadly by their bites. They spread fast-spreading diseases like dengue and malaria. More so in the ...
via Bing News