蚊子吃了减肥药就不会吸血

Diet Drug Mosquitoe

Believe it or not, mosquitoes don't bite out of spite. Female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti need the nutrients present in your plasmato ensure the proper development of their eggs. And though their thirst may seem unquenchable, the ladies actually take time to savor your blood once they've sipped their fill.

"After a female bites, she'll double her body weight, and then she'll actually completely lose interest in biting people for several days." Laura Duvall, a postdoctoral researcher at The Rockefeller University in New York City. The insects' postprandial recovery phase made Duvall and her colleagues wonder whether they could essentially trick mosquitoes into thinking they'd already eaten.

Duvall works in the lab of Leslie Vosshall, who studies genetics, neuroscience and behavior. Here's Vosshall: "Our idea was that maybe the same drugs that would turn off human appetite might actually work to turn off mosquito appetite." Turns out that when the Rockefeller researchers fed mosquitoes a drug used to treat people for obesity, the insects were indeed less interested in hunting for their next human meal ticket. "But the problem was we needed to figure out how the human diet drugs were actually working in the mosquito."

So they isolated the receptor protein with which these diet drugs interact. The receptor, which they dubbed NPYLR7, looks a lot like the receptors that regulate hunger in people. The researchers knew they had the right receptor because, when they knocked it out in some mosquitos, the drugs no longer dampened the insects' appetite, a finding they describe in the journal Cell.

In fact, the mutant mosquitoes were all-around insatiable. "So the npylr7 mutants behave really strangely. Even after they take a huge blood meal, they remain thirsty for human blood." Next, Duvall says they'd like to explore exactly how these drugs act to curb a female's blood lust. "Does she become less sensitive to the clues that tell her a human is nearby? Or is this like smelling a hamburger after you've already eaten three?" Either way, the approach could provide a novel method to limit the spread of diseases transmitted by mosquito bite, like dengue and yellow fever. And give us a new way to tell mosquitoes to buzz off.

参考译文

你可能不会相信,蚊子并不会出于恶意地去咬人。雌性埃及伊蚊为了确保体内卵子的正常发育,需要吸取人类血浆中的营养物质。虽然表面上看它们吸起血来就是个无底洞,但它们吸血都是一小口一小口的抿,还需要花些时间来品尝你的血液。

在一次叮咬完成之后,雌蚊子的体重会增加一倍,然后在接下来的很多天她都会对你的血完全失去兴趣。劳拉杜瓦尔是纽约洛克菲勒大学的博士后研究员。这种餐后恢复阶段引起了杜瓦尔和同事的兴趣,她们想知道能否人为地让蚊子认为它们已经吸过血了。

杜瓦尔在莱斯莉福斯哈尔的实验室工作,她研究遗传学、神经科学和行为学。福斯哈尔说: 我们的想法是,可以让人类失去食欲的药物或许同样也能让蚊子失去食欲。事实证明,当洛克菲勒的研究人员给蚊子喂食一种用于治疗肥胖症的药物时,这些虫子确实对寻找下一个人类血库的兴趣不大。但问题是我们需要弄清楚人类的减肥药是如何在蚊子身上发生作用的。

因此,她们分离出了与这些减肥药相互作用的受体蛋白质。这些被称之为 NPYLR7 的受体看起来和调节人类饥饿的受体非常相似。研究人员知道她们得到的是正确的受体,因为当她们从某些蚊子中分离出这些受体时,减肥药就不再抑制蚊子的食欲了,她们在细胞杂志上描述了这一发现。

另一方面,受体突变的蚊子则怎么都吃不饱。所以 NPYLR7 突变体表现得非常奇怪。即使吸食了大量的人血,它们还是想喝。接下来,杜瓦尔说他们想要探究这些药物是如何抑制雌性蚊子吸血欲望的。是对那些人类邻近的信号变得不那么敏感了吗?或者就像我们已经吃过三个汉堡后再闻汉堡的感觉一样? 无论是哪一种,我们都可以用来预防蚊子叮咬传播疾病,如登革热和黄热病。我们又掌握了一种新方法,让蚊子滚蛋。

词汇表

  • unquenchable 难灭的
  • savor 品尝
  • prandial 膳食的

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