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, 367 (6478), 681-684

Mosquito Heat Seeking Is Driven by an Ancestral Cooling Receptor


Mosquito Heat Seeking Is Driven by an Ancestral Cooling Receptor

Chloe Greppi et al. Science.


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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