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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333634

Research Project: Prevention of Arthropod Bites

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Title: Gustatory reception of chemicals affecting feeding in aedine mosquitoes

item Sparks, Jackson
item Dickens, Joseph

Submitted to: Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/23/2016
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
Citation: Sparks, J.T., Dickens, J.C. 2016. Gustatory reception of chemicals affecting feeding in aedine mosquitoes. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2016.12.009.

Interpretive Summary: Dangerous diseases vectored by mosquitoes include the emerging diseases Zika fever, chikungunya and dengue fever. Disease transmission occurs following a mosquito’s bite when saliva carrying the pathogen is transferred to the human host. Thus prevention of mosquito bites would provide substantial protection from the diseases they transmit. Here we discuss the neural and molecular bases of feeding behavior in mosquitoes. We provide important analyses and perspectives on the usefulness of a better understanding of mosquito feeding and point out potential pitfalls in such an approach. Knowledge of the neural and molecular mechanisms involved in mosquito feeding may be used by entomologists and molecular biologists to devise novel management strategies aimed at preventing mosquito bites.

Technical Abstract: Mosquitoes vector dangerous human diseases during blood feeding. Gustatory (taste) receptor neurons in the mosquito provide important chemical information including the nature and suitability of a potential host. Here we discuss the behavior, neurophysiology and molecular mechanisms associated with feeding in aedine mosquitoes, important vectors of emerging diseases including Zika fever, chikungunya and dengue fever. We describe how interactions between feeding stimulation and deterrency at the peripheral neural receptor level provide input to higher order neural processing centers affecting decisions to feed. A better understanding of gustatory mechanisms involved in the female’s decision to bite will provide the framework for novel strategies aimed at preventing the spread of vector-borne disease.