EOF-1, the protein that mosquitoes can disappear, acts as a kind of contraceptive for this species.
The problem with mosquitoes is not just a night of annoying buzzers that the next day prevent you from working decently, but sometimes they could even die. To eradicate this problem, they discovered a protein that could make the mosquitoes disappear.
So much so?
Around the world, more than 500 million people suffer from diseases transmitted by these insects that suck the human blood: zika, chikungunya, dengue, malaria and almost one million patients lose their lives.
This protein would prevent mosquitoes from producing viable eggs. (Photograph: Timothy Rhyne)
There are almost 3,000 species of mosquitoes, and three of the genera are carriers of human diseases that can be lethal. Those of the genus Aades transmit the dengue viruses, zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. On the other hand, Culex mosquitoes transmit the West Nile virus and Anopheles carry malaria.
This is how a group of researchers from the laboratory of Roger Miesfield of the University of Arizona discovered this protein in mosquitoes, which is critical in the process of producing viable eggs that could act as a contraceptive or contraceptive type of these insects.
Egg Shell Factor 1
When the researchers, led by Jun Isoe, selectively blocked the activity of this protein, called Factor Factor 1 of Eggshell, or EOF-1 (for its acronym in English) the mosquito females put "defective" eggs that made the embryos die inside.
The study of this blockade was published in Biology Plans and in this it is proven that this protein only exists in mosquitoes, so that drugs that are developed to make dysfunctional EOF-1 do not affect other organisms like bees.
"We specifically looked for genes that were unique to mosquitoes, and then we tested their functional role in egg shell synthesis," says Jun Isoe, also distinguished professor of the UA and head of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The scientist mentioned that for the first time they used a bioinformatic approach to identify genes unique to mosquitoes and therefore do not affect other organisms.
We believe there are other discoveries that will be made using this same species-oriented approach.
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Mosquitoes bite because they need blood to produce their eggs. (Photograph: Boris Smokrovic)
How are mosquitoes born?
Female mosquitoes sting because they need blood to produce their eggs, and males visit the flowers to drink nectar. When females ingest blood, their follicles develop and it takes three days to lay their eggs.
This scientific experiment is very important because it may involve not only the significant reduction of species but the transmission of these deadly diseases in humans.
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