Study investigates different approaches to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases

Published on December 13, 2012 at 1:41 AM · No Comments

A special issue of Pathogens and Global Health, published by Maney Publishing, investigates different approaches to eradicate mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes can transmit a number of pathogenic diseases including dengue fever, yellow fever, and malaria.

Anopheles Gambiae mosquitoes are the major carrier of human malaria. They are responsible for a hundred million cases worldwide and the death of an estimated 700 million children. In spite of recent success, current vector control measures face a number of hurdles due to increased resistance to insecticides and lack of resources. The new investigation by Dottorini et al. presented in the latest issue of Pathogens and Global Health offers a unique insight into the molecular mechanisms controlling the reproductive behaviour of this mosquito species. The authors show that the knockdown of a gene controlling the production of seminal fluid proteins produced in the male accessory gland (MAG) dramatically affects the female propensity to re-mate as well as the viability of the offspring. These findings shed new light on the molecular mechanism regulating the reproductive biology of mosquitoes and have the potential to disclose new clues for developing chemical and genetic vector control measures.

In the same issue, a study by Bandi et al. reports on the tick-associated bacterium Midichloria mitochondrii. It is the sole microbe capable of invading and multiplying inside the mitochondria. The team led by the University of Milan developed an antigen-based method to search for signs of Midichloria infection in humans. This study revealed that the majority of the patients parasitized by the tick Ixodes ricinus have antibodies againstMidichloria bacteria in their blood, while healthy subjects are generally negative. The study highlights that Midichloria should be considered as a new potential infectious agent, and provides the tools for its search/diagnosis in humans and animals. Different neurological disorders and other degenerative pathologies of unknown cause have been suggested to be associated with tick parasitism and with mitochondrial dysfunction. Midichloria infection should now be investigated as a possible risk factor in the development of these pathologies.

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