Dong and colleague's discovery will help fight insecticide resistance of disease-carrying mosquitoes

Ke Dong is part of a team of scientists whose work on insecticide resistance in disease-carrying mosquitoes was published in the July 2, 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

July 9, 2013

Ke Dong is part of a team of scientists whose work on insecticide resistance in disease-carrying mosquitoes was published in the July 2, 2013 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have long believed that a single molecular door was the key target for insecticide. The team of researchers led by Michigan State University has discovered a second gateway that could turn the tide against the mosquitoes’ growing advantage with insecticide resistance.

Receptors on sodium channels act as doorways. Pyrethroids work by propping open the sodium channel. Mosquitoes don’t die from the toxin, per se. They die from sodium overdose. At the molecular level, resistance appears as mutations in the primary receptor in the sodium channel that allow mosquitoes to survive exposure to the insecticide. The discovery of the second receptor in the sodium channel, however, opens up more avenues to increase pyrethroids’ effectiveness. “Our finding may ultimately improve global prediction and monitoring of pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes and other arthropod pests,” Dong said. “It could have broad impacts in agriculture and medicine that affect people’s lives, especially in developing countries.” Read more about the team’s findings at MSU Today.

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