Researchers have discovered that reducing fertility of the malaria-carrying mosquitoes can help in providing a new way of combating the disease. The female mosquitoes store the sperm in their bodies and repeatedly take sperm over the course of their lifetime to fertilise the eggs that they later lay. The sperm is partially protected by the actions of an enzyme referred to as HPX15.
When researchers were working on the study interfered with HPX15 in female Anapheles gambiae mosquitoes in the laboratory, they found that the females produced fewer eggs and therfore, had fewer offsprings. The researchers say that with this breakthrough results, you may be able to curb malaria better. There is no single thing that can help in tackling malaria, but making the mosquitoes less fertile may just be a powerful weapon against the disease.
Besides uncovering the role that HPX15 has in combating malaria, the researchers also found out how it is activated, thus revealing the prospect of another possible target for the immobilsation of the enzyme.
The researchers added that the male mosquito transfers a certain hormone called 20E to the female when they are mating. This hormone induces the expression of HPX15 in the female mosquito. The next step for the research is to think of ways in whcih one can prevent activation of either the enzyme that protects sperm, HPX15 or of the 20E that activates the enzyme.
The main transmitters of malaria are anopheles gamblae mosquitoes that affect around 200 million people each year.
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