Chemistry of Mosquito Sex May Hold Key to Disease
FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists who've uncovered
the chemistry of mosquito sex say their research may reveal ways to
control mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and dengue
The Cornell University team found that more than 100 proteins in
the male sperm of
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes -- known to transmit yellow fever
and dengue fever -- permanently alter female mosquitoes' tendencies
to feed, produce eggs and mate.
The study is the first to identify male proteins that are
transferred to females during mating. By isolating these proteins,
it may be possible to develop a method of birth control for female
mosquitoes, and potentially help control the spread of diseases
such as dengue fever, yellow fever and West Nile virus, said the
Currently, there is no effective treatment for dengue fever, a
sometimes deadly infection suffered by millions of people worldwide
"This is an exciting new avenue for identifying ultimate targets to reduce mosquito vector populations. Ultimately, we plan to select the most promising candidate proteins as chemical targets or as a focus for the development of other methods for vector control," study co-author Laura Harrington, an associate professor of entomology, said in a Cornell news release.
The study was published online March 16 in the journal
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
vector-borne infectious diseases.
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