Protein Inhibition Provides Birth Control for Mosquitos

Techonology Networks | January 09, 2019

Depending on where you live, the buzz of a nearby mosquito can be a nuisance, or it can be deadly. Worldwide, more than 500 million people suffer from diseases transmitted by the blood-feeding insects, including malaria, Dengue Fever, Zika, and West Nile, and nearly a million deaths are attributed to mosquito-borne illnesses each year. Researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered a protein in mosquitos that are critical to the process of producing viable eggs and could pave the way for "mosquito birth control." When researchers selectively blocked the activity of the protein – which they named Eggshell Organizing Factor 1, or EOF-1 – in female mosquitoes, the mosquitos laid eggs with defective eggshells, leading to the death of the embryos inside.
In the report, published in the open access journal PLoS Biology on Jan. 8, the team showed that EOF-1 exists only in mosquitoes. Therefore, any drug developed to render the protein dysfunctional would only affect mosquitoes and no other organisms. The team, led by Jun Isoe, a research scientist in the lab of Roger Miesfeld, a UA Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is hopeful the approach might offer a way to interrupt mosquito egg formation and reduce mosquito populations in areas of human disease transmission without harming beneficial insects such as honey bees.

Spotlight

Farm level adoption rates of bioengineered crops have surpassed the expectations of even the optimists among biotechnology proponents. Worldwide acreage sown to bioengineered crops continues to increase (figure 1) despite some predictions of reductions in farmer plantings.

Spotlight

Farm level adoption rates of bioengineered crops have surpassed the expectations of even the optimists among biotechnology proponents. Worldwide acreage sown to bioengineered crops continues to increase (figure 1) despite some predictions of reductions in farmer plantings.

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