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, 367 (6478), 681-684

Mosquito Heat Seeking Is Driven by an Ancestral Cooling Receptor

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Mosquito Heat Seeking Is Driven by an Ancestral Cooling Receptor

Chloe Greppi et al. Science.

Abstract

Mosquitoes transmit pathogens that kill >700,000 people annually. These insects use body heat to locate and feed on warm-blooded hosts, but the molecular basis of such behavior is unknown. Here, we identify ionotropic receptor IR21a, a receptor conserved throughout insects, as a key mediator of heat seeking in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae Although Ir21a mediates heat avoidance in Drosophila, we find it drives heat seeking and heat-stimulated blood feeding in Anopheles At a cellular level, Ir21a is essential for the detection of cooling, suggesting that during evolution mosquito heat seeking relied on cooling-mediated repulsion. Our data indicate that the evolution of blood feeding in Anopheles involves repurposing an ancestral thermoreceptor from non-blood-feeding Diptera.

Comment in

  • In the heat of the night.
    Lazzari CR. Lazzari CR. Science. 2020 Feb 7;367(6478):628-629. doi: 10.1126/science.aba4484. Science. 2020. PMID: 32029616 No abstract available.

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