His discovery led to a comprehensive collaborative effort, the results of which will appear Oct. 4 along with the newly completed Anopheles gambiae genome in the journal Science. The journal made the announcement today. At the same time, the journal Nature announced it is publishing the Plasmodium falciparum genome on Oct. 3. Plasmodium, a single-celled parasite that causes malaria, is carried by Anopheles mosquitoes.
The completion of the Anopheles genome provides a new approach to the study of mosquitoes, including how to reduce the spread of malaria by the Anopheles mosquito and of diseases such as West Nile encephalitis, dengue and yellow fever by other mosquitoes.
With researchers at Vanderbilt University, the University of Notre Dame and Celera Diagnostics, Robertson identified 276 G protein-coupled receptors from the Anopheles genome. More than half (155) are external chemosensory receptors -- among which are those that allow female mosquitoes to detect humans and other mammals by taste or smell. They found 79 olfactory (smell) receptors and 76 gustatory (taste) receptors.
"Our discoveries will hopefully shed light into host specificity, specifically how the combination of the olfactory and gustatory receptors help mosquitoes find their mammal hosts," Robertson said. "We know that mosquitoes can detect a whole bunch of chemicals that we humans release whether we like it or not, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. We don't have a choice; we release them and they take advantage of that."
"Our paper provides a beginning description of all chemoreceptors, which are all the major kinds th
Contact: Jim Barlow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign