Battling the Bloodsuckers: Examining the Expression of OBP23 in the Yellow Fever Mosquito

Nosherwan Mughal head shot

Name: Nosherwan Mughal
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry
Advisor: Laura Sirot

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

Aedes aegypti are notorious vectors that transmit deadly pathogens to humans. Odorant Binding Protein 23 is a highly regulated protein present in Aedes aegypti. It is richly present in sensory regions of the mosquito like the antennae and is believed to play an olfactory function. Research has shown its presence and regulation in other non-sensory regions of the body as well. The role and functioning of OBP23 in this regard is not yet fully understood, thus my research is aimed at understanding the gene expression of OBP23 in different parts of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes after mating and blood consumption. Four treatments were assessed: mated and blood fed, mated and non-blood fed, non-mated and blood fed, and non-mated and non-blood fed. The hypothesis according to previous research, was that OBP23 would be upregulated in the reproductive tract after mating, which was found to be true. Additionally, there was an upregulation of OBP23 in the abdomen due to blood feeding, indicating potential new functions for this gene. These results suggest that OBP23 may play a key role in the reproductive success of female mosquitoes, in addition to possible digestive or immune functions. In the future my findings could potentially be leveraged for control strategies aimed at reducing mosquito populations. Overall, this study provides new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying mosquito reproduction and highlights the importance of investigating gene expression changes in response to different environmental stimuli.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 15, 2023.

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