Virus manipulates ‘Aedes’ mosquito and humans to spread

Lare mosquitoes aedes terrorize much of the planet. Their bites sustain major epidemics worldwide such as yellow fever, dengue fever, zika, or even chikungunya. By successively attacking an already infected person and then a healthy person, they – or rather they, since only females bite – represent the only carriers of these diseases.

With tens of thousands of deaths a year and millions of patients, the genre is aedes and its different types (aegypti, albopictus…) are on the podium of the worst-listed killers, behind the Anopheles, mosquito vectors of malaria.

also read Article reserved for our subscribers “Aedes”, high-risk mosquitoes

Nor theaedes could plead not guilty. In January 2022, a team from the Institute for Research and Development (IRD, Mivegec) in Montpellier, led by Julien Pompon, showed that the animal lost part of its raison d’être after being infected with the dengue virus. It increases attacks, bites and transplants from the same hosts, increasing the risk of transmission of the pathogen. Eliminating or at least weakening discernment could advance the defense.

Altered body odor

An article published in the magazine on June 30th cell will offer his lawyers a new argument: manipulation. A Chinese team has just shown that when flaviviruses (responsible for dengue fever and Zika) infect a human or a mouse, they alter their body odor, making them irresistible to insects. No murder then, just a crime of passion.

To demonstrate this, Chinese scientists first proposed several speciesaedes to choose between an infected and a healthy mouse. Without hesitation, everyone chose diseased rodents, dengue like Zika. The same result was observed with blotters impregnated with human sweat.

A Chinese team found that peptides are less common in diseased mice and bacteria thrive

Researchers then tried to understand its origin. They therefore compared the volatile compounds present on the two types of skin, infected or not. Several molecules proved to be overabundant on the affected epidermis. All were then presented with mosquitoes. To listen to the researchers, one of them literally “freaked out”.

also read Article reserved for our subscribers How a mutation in the Aedes aegypti mosquito promotes Zika transmission

Acetophenone was chosen against itself and is produced by bacteria present on the skin. On healthy epidermis, bacilli are combated by antimicrobial peptides called RELMα. The Chinese team found that in diseased mice, peptides were rarer and bacteria thrived. “By suppressing RELMα, the virus allows bacteria and thus acetophenone, which attracts mosquitoes, to multiply.”summarizes Professor Dong Cheng of the Tsinghua School of Medicine, who coordinated the research.

You still have 27.7% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Comment