Researchers from the University of California at Riverside (UCR) recently launched a study on the larval and pupal development mosquito Aedes aegypti bearer of the yellow fever. In particular, they discovered that some genetic mutations may have prevented some individuals from transitioning to the adult phase. Indeed, the ecdysone-deprived larvaea very important steroid hormone, could not molt.
The scientists were then able to determine that the absence of certain genomes affects the transport protein metabolism ecdysone, needed to move this steroid hormone in and out of cells. In 2018, a UCR entomologist Naoki Yamanaka already focused about this problem in some mutated flower flies.
So without ecdysone mosquitoes will never be able to reach adulthood neither reproduce.
Ecdysone transporters are present in all insects
Before this discovery, scientists always thought that ecdysone traveled freely through cell membranes, easily crossing them. However, the UCR researchers have succeeded in proving, following their recent work, that this assumption is wrong.
In effect, each species of insect needs ecdysone to go through the different stages of their development. Yamanaka and his team detected in the insects they tested the presence of ecdysone transporters from egg to adulthood.
An insecticide that targets ecdysone carriers to kill mosquitoes
The researchers also noticed that mosquitoes only possess three of the four transporter proteins present in fruit flies. They miss the most important thing, the primary carrier ecdysone. This protein is then naturally absent at the mosquitoes that spread Zika virus, dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya and other viruses.
This discovery opens the way to the creation ofmosquito-specific insecticides. Such a product would not harm beneficial bees or other pollinators. He would then selectively affect ecdysone transporters found in mosquitoes no effect on the primary carrier which is so important to other insects.