Entomologist Megan Meuti of The Ohio State College
You may say that entomologist Megan Meuti of The Ohio State College (OSU) messes with mosquitoes’ circadian clocks.
She’s hoping she will trick Culex pipiens, the Northern home mosquito, into not biting us.
As a current OSU article on Can We Trick Mosquitoes So They Cease Biting Us? defined:
“In her lab, Meuti employed a way known as RNA interference. She injected a number of thousand Culex pipiens mosquitoes with double-stranded RNA. (RNA stands for ribonucleic acid, which might function a messenger, carrying genetic data from the DNA inside an organism’s cells and permitting it to be made into the proteins that do all the work.)
“The double-stranded RNA that she injected into the mosquitoes prevented a selected protein that governs the mosquitoes’ circadian rhythms from being made.
“Then Meuti waited. She hoped to see if decreasing the quantity of a circadian clock proteins had any impact on the mosquitoes’ skill to measure seasonal time. Particularly, she needed to see if she may persuade a mosquito that it was winter when it was actually summer time — and vice versa.”
Did it work? Sure.
Culex pipiens, the Northern home mosquito, feeding on a human host. (Wikipedia picture)
Meuti will talk about her work on Wednesday, Jan. 19 when the UC Davis Division of Entomology and Nematology hosts her digital seminar on “How Do Mosquitoes Accurately Interpret Environmental Indicators Into Complicated Seasonal Responses?”
Her presentation begins at 4:10 p.m., Pacific Time. The Zoom hyperlink: https://ucdavis.zoom.us/j/99515291076
“Northern home mosquitoes, Culex pipiens, transmit West Nile virus to birds and folks in the USA,” Meuti says in her summary. “Nevertheless, transmission is proscribed to a couple months of the yr when feminine mosquitoes are actively biting and reproducing. Throughout autumn, females of Cx. pipiens enter a physiologically dynamic however arrested state of growth generally known as diapause the place they divert sources from replica to survival.”
Meuti and members of her lab examine (1) how mosquitoes are in a position to measure daylength and whether or not the circadian clock is concerned and (2) how human-mediated modifications to the surroundings, like gentle air pollution and better temperatures in city warmth islands, have an effect on mosquito seasonality, and the way this would possibly have an effect on illness transmission in cities.
Meuti holds three levels from OSU: twin bachelor levels in microbiology and entomology, 2008; and her doctorate in entomology, 2014. Learning with main professor David Denlinger, she accomplished her dissertation on “Circadian Clocks and Photoperiodic Diapause within the Northern Home Mosquito, Culex pipiens: Seek for the Lacking Hyperlink.”
Previous to becoming a member of the OSU school, Meuti served as a visiting professor within the Division of Biology, Kenyon School, Gambier, Ohio, in 2015-16.
“Many people intuitively acknowledge that our mosquito issues are seasonal; there are occasions of the yr when mosquitoes are plentiful and we can not go exterior with out getting bitten (e.g. late spring and summer time), whereas there are different occasions after we take pleasure in a reprieve from mosquito bites (e.g. late fall and winter),” Meuti writes on her web site. “I’m taken with how exactly mosquitoes are in a position to inform what time of yr it’s and appropriately reply to their surroundings. Members of my lab group examine how circadian clock genes would possibly enable mosquitoes to measure day size to find out the time of yr; how male mosquitoes change their accent gland proteins to affect feminine habits and physiology; and whether or not mosquitoes in city environments are energetic for longer durations through the yr and/or chunk people extra ceaselessly. We use quite a lot of molecular, genetic and physiological methods to analyze these questions. Our final aim is to uncover particular methods to govern seasonal responses in bugs in order that we will extra successfully management them.” (Watch Megan Meuti’s Discovery Discuss)
Meuti not too long ago co-authored analysis, “Synthetic Mild at Night time Alters the Seasonal Responses of Biting Mosquitoes,” printed within the Journal of Insect Physiology.
“City gentle air pollution attributable to synthetic gentle at night time (ALAN) profoundly impacts the ecology, habits, and physiology of crops and animals. Additional, this widespread environmental pollutant has the potential to negatively impression human and animal well being by altering the seasonal dynamics of disease-transmitting bugs. In response to quick days, females of the Northern home mosquito enter an overwintering dormancy, or diapause. Whereas in diapause, feminine mosquitoes divert power away from replica, stop blood-feeding, and not transmit illness. We exhibit that publicity to dim ALAN (~4 lx) causes feminine mosquitoes to avert diapause and turn into reproductively energetic, as these females acquired much less fats content material, developed bigger egg follicles, imbibed vertebrate blood, and produced viable eggs and larvae. Our findings counsel that mosquitoes in extremely light-polluted areas similar to cities could also be actively reproducing and biting later within the season, thereby extending the interval of illness threat for city residents. Our outcomes counsel that ALAN needs to be thought-about when modeling mosquito abundance, illness threat, and when deciding how lengthy mosquito surveillance and management ought to persist in temperate areas.”
Energetic within the Entomological Society of America, Meuti acquired the 2018 Early Profession Skilled Educating Award of $1,000. She earlier gained a 2008-2014 OSU fellowship, the Susan D. Huntington Dean’s Distinguished College Graduate Fellowship of $67,200; and a 2010-2013 Nationwide Science Basis Graduate Analysis Fellowship of $90,000.
Coordinator of the UC Davis seminars is nematologist Shahid Siddique, assistant professor. For technical points involving the seminar, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.