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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Discover Second Molecular Door for Insecticide in Mosquitoes

July 10, 2013

In the war against disease-carrying mosquitoes, scientists have long believed that a single molecular door was the key target for insecticides. This door, however, closes, allowing mosquitoes to get away from effective insecticides. Recently, a team of researchers from the Michigan State University discovered that a second molecular door that could be the key to fighting disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Pyrethroids have been used in many developing countries to fight diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. They are highly effective because they eliminate mosquitoes without side effects, if any, on humans. The discovery of the second receptor in the mosquitoes' sodium channel helps researchers to better understand how insecticide works at a molecular level and lead ways to stop resistance to pyrethroids.

The receptors on mosquitoes' sodium channels act as doorways, and pyrethroids work by opening the sodium channel. Mosquitoes will die due to sodium overdose because when the door is wide open, their cells gulp down sodium, which overexcites their nervous system and eventually leads to paralysis and death.

Read the PNAS full paper at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/07/02/1305118110.full.pdf+html (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1305118110).

The news release from Michigan State University is available at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/second-door-discovered-in-war-against-mosquito-borne-diseases/.