Meddling with male malaria mosquito mating plug to control an epidemic

The technology is based on a discovery about the plug in 2009 by Flaminia Catteruccia, Ph.D., then at Imperial College London. Catteruccias research detailed the biochemical composition of the plug, identified the transglutaminase enzyme and showed that blocking the enzyme prevents females from storing sperm to fertilize their eggs. Catteruccia, now at the Harvard School of Public Health, is collaborating with Baxter and his team at Yale to translate that knowledge into technology to put a dent in the population of malaria mosquitoes.”We have completed the necessary groundwork to start screening for chemicals that inhibit the enzyme,” Baxter explained. “I think that theres a good chance that we will find a compound because there are many existing compounds that inhibit other transglutaminases. Ideally, it would be a substance that could be fed to males, sterilizing them so that they mate but no offspring result. Its a well-established biological insect-control technology called the sterile insect technique and has been used for decades.”

via Meddling with male malaria mosquito mating plug to control an epidemic.

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