Study finds host-derived substance stops mosquitoes from sucking blood


A Japanese research team has found that yellow fever mosquitoes stop feeding on their victims when they detect a substance produced as their host's blood coagulates, letting them know there is a "safe period" for striking and escaping undetected, Kyodo reports. 

The latest finding "holds potential for developing innovative approaches to mitigate mosquito bites," said a report by the team of researchers from the national science research institute Riken and the Jikei University School of Medicine.

The substance, called fibrinopeptide A, is produced during the coagulation of blood and serves as one of the factors that cause a mosquito to stop feeding on its host and escape, the team said in the report published in the online open-access journal Cell Reports.

The discovery "will lead to the development of methods for reducing mosquito-borne infections," said Chisako Sakuma, a senior scientist at Riken.

In artificial feeding experiments, the team found that mosquitoes "actively feed on erythrocytes but not on plasma or serum alone," suggesting plasma and serum contain components that cause mosquitoes to stop sucking blood, the report said.

"It is likely that mosquitoes have adopted a strategy of sensing the degree of blood coagulation by utilizing by-products of the coagulation process that are unnecessary" for their hosts, it said.

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