UCR identifies new tool to kill mosquitoes
Scientists have finally found malaria’s Achilles’ heel, a neurotoxin that isn’t harmful to any living thing except Anopheles mosquitoes that spread malaria.
Nearly half the world’s population lives in areas vulnerable to malaria which kills roughly 450,000 people per year, most of them children and pregnant women. Progress fighting the disease is threatened as Anopheles develop resistance to chemical insecticides used to control them. There is also great concern about toxic side effects of the chemicals.
About 30 years ago, scientists identified a strain of bacteria that kills Anopheles. Since the bacteria’s method of attack was not understood, it couldn’t be replicated or used as an alternative to chemical insecticides — until now.
An international team led by Sarjeet Gill, distinguished professor of molecular, cell and systems biology at UC Riverside, has identified a neurotoxin produced by the bacteria, and determined how it kills Anopheles. Their work is detailed in a paper published today in Nature Communications.
It took Gill and his team 10 years to achieve a breakthrough in their quest to understand the bacteria, and Gill attributes the success to modern gene sequencing techniques. They hit the bacteria with radiation, creating mutant bacterial strains that could not produce the toxin. By comparing the nontoxic strain to the one that kills Anopheles, they found proteins in the bacteria that are the keys to toxin production.
“Identifying the mechanisms by which the bacteria targets Anopheles has not been easy,” Gill said. “We were excited not only to find the neurotoxin, called PMP1, but also several proteins that likely protect PMP1 as it’s being absorbed in the mosquito’s gut.”
Many neurotoxins generally target vertebrates, and PMP1 bears 30 percent chemical similarity to botulinum or tetanus, both highly toxic to humans. Because the neurotoxin does not affect humans, vertebrates, fish, or even other insects, Gill believes the bacteria that produce PMP1 likely co-evolved along with Anopheles mosquitoes.
“It was surprising for us that PMP1 is not toxic to mice even by injection,” Gill said.
Members of Gill’s team include postdoctoral scholars Estefania Contreras, Jianwu Chen, Harpal Dhillon, and Nadia Qureshi as well as graduate student Swati Chawla from UC Riverside, Geoffrey Masuyer and Pål Stenmark from Stockholm University and Han Lim Lee from the Institute for Medical Research in Malaysia. Their work was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The team has applied for a patent on this discovery, and now hopes to find partners that will help them develop their bacteria-based Anopheles insecticide. These findings also open the door to new avenues of research on additional environmentally friendly insecticides.
“There is a high likelihood that if PMP1 evolved to kill the Anopheles mosquito, there are other toxins that can kill other disease-spreading pests,” Gill said. “This could just be the start of a new way to prevent hundreds of thousands from getting sick and dying every year.”
Learn more: Controlling deadly malaria without chemicals
The Latest on: Malaria
via Google News
The Latest on: Malaria
- A roadmap for adding ivermectin to the malaria toolboxon January 22, 2020 at 8:34 am
A group of experts led by Regina Rabinovich and Carlos Chaccour from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has published a roadmap to evaluate—and subsequently implement—ivermectin as a ...
- Drugs For Malaria Market In-deep Analysis And Experts Review Report 2020-2024on January 21, 2020 at 9:04 pm
The report titled "Drugs For Malaria Market" has recently added by qymarketresearchstore to get a stronger and effective business outlook. It provides an in-depth analysis of different attributes of ...
- Evidence of extrinsic factors dominating intrinsic blood host preferences of major African malaria vectorson January 20, 2020 at 2:15 am
Blood fed Anopheles mosquitoes were collected from a malaria endemic village in Ghana. Collections were conducted across a range of different host availabilities and from both indoor and outdoor ...
- Malaria Diagnostics Market All Time on High Demand with Stunning CAGR 5.9% by 2026on January 19, 2020 at 9:34 pm
Introduction According to Acumen Research, the global Malaria Diagnostics Market is expected to surpass ...
- 3 African countries trying out 1st malaria vaccine in babieson January 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm
3 African countries trying out 1st malaria vaccine in babies Spread by mosquito bites, malaria kills more than 400K people every year, two-thirds of them under 5 and most in Africa Check out this ...
- Biophysical and biomolecular interactions of malaria-infected erythrocytes in engineered human capillarieson January 17, 2020 at 11:37 am
These authors contributed equally to this work. See allHide authors and affiliations Microcirculatory obstruction is a hallmark of severe malaria, but mechanisms of parasite sequestration are only ...
- First ever malaria vaccine tried out in babies in 3 African nationson January 16, 2020 at 11:55 pm
TOMALI, Malawi — A pinch in the leg, a squeal and a trickle of tears. One baby after another in Malawi is getting the first and only vaccine against malaria, one of history’s deadliest and most ...
- Molecular-level understanding of drug interactions could pave way for better malaria treatmentson January 16, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Peter Vekilov, John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry at UH and another co-author, said the work will allow the design of more effective treatments ...
- 1st malaria vaccine tried out in babies in 3 African nationson January 16, 2020 at 10:47 am
TOMALI, Malawi (AP) — A pinch in the leg, a squeal and a trickle of tears. One baby after another in Malawi is getting the first and only vaccine against malaria, one of history’s deadliest and most ...
- Togo's National Program For Fight Against Malaria (PNLP) To Launch Mosquito Eradication Initiative In West Africaon January 16, 2020 at 9:38 am
Recognizing the scourge of mosquito-borne illnesses that ravage communities all over the world and the challenges to find effective, scalable solutions, Spartan Mosquito has agreed to an innovative ...
via Bing News