IIT Mandi and DBT-inStem researchers have discovered the biochemical processes that enable eggs of Dengue-causing mosquito to survive harsh conditions and rejuvenate when favourable conditions return.
This research marks a significant stride in our battle against mosquito-borne diseases, offering hope for more effective vector control measures, say sources from IIT Mandi.
The details of this research have been published in the journal PLOS Biology. The paper was co-authored by Dr Baskar Bakthavachalu, Assistant Professor, School of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Mandi along with Ms. Anjana Prasad, Ms. Sreesa Sreedharan, and Dr. Sunil Laxman from Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (DBT-inStem).
Mosquitoes, viral vectors for various diseases, deposit their eggs in water, where they hatch. The eggs of Dengue and Zika-carrying Aedes mosquitoes can endure extended periods without water, akin to plant seeds patiently waiting for germination in the absence of moisture, say sources from IIT Mandi.
Despite the knowledge of this phenomenon, the molecular reasons behind the desiccation tolerance and post-rehydration survival remained a mystery until now, say sources from IIT Mandi.
The collaborative team reared Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, studying their eggs through a series of innovative experiments. By subjecting the eggs to dehydration and subsequent rehydration, they discovered that the developing larvae undergo specific metabolic changes required for survival, say sources from IIT Mandi.
Dr Baskar Bakthavachalu, the lead researcher from IIT Mandi said life is fundamentally dependent on water. However, extreme environmental conditions have allowed organisms to find ways to survive without water.
Each of these organisms finds its own unique way to overcome water loss. Our understanding of this fundamental process remains limited.
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Mosquito eggs, facing drying conditions, enter an altered metabolic state to significantly increase the production of polyamines, which play a crucial role in enabling the embryos to withstand the damage caused by water loss, said the lead researcher from IIT Mandi.
Furthermore, they utilize high-calorie lipids as an energy source to complete their development once they are rehydrated, said the lead researcher from IIT Mandi.
The implications of this research by IIT Mandi and DBT-inStem are far-reaching. Understanding these survival mechanisms provides a foundation for innovative mosquito control strategies.
By disrupting the desiccation tolerance of mosquito eggs, researchers anticipate a significant reduction in mosquito populations and disease transmission, say sources from IIT Mandi.
The understanding gained from this work could potentially prevent the resurgence of mosquitoes following monsoon rains, a period traditionally associated with increased disease transmission risks.
The knowledge gained has applications beyond disease control. Similar pathways exist in agricultural insect pests, suggesting potential solutions for agricultural challenges, say sources from IIT Mandi.
By deciphering these biochemical processes, scientists may pave the way for eco-friendly, targeted pest control measures, ensuring sustainable agricultural practices.
IIT Mandi has nine Academic Schools and five major Research Centers. The Schools are the School of Biosciences and Bioengineering (SBBE), School of Chemical Sciences (SCS), School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (SMSS).
The others are School of Physical Sciences (SPS), School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (SMME), School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (SCENE), School of Computing and Electrical Engineering (SCEE), School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS), and School of Management (SOM).
The Centers are Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMRC), Centre for Design and Fabrication of Electrical Devices (C4DFED), BioX Centre, Indian Knowledge System and Mental Health Applications Centre (IKSMHA Centre) and Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
The Institute offers B.Tech. programs in seven different streams, one M.A. program, ten M.Tech. programs, nine Ph.D. programs, and one iPh.D. program.
The unique, project-oriented B.Tech. curriculum is centered around its 4-year long Design and Innovation stream.
Since the inception of the Institute, the faculty have been involved in over 275 Research and Development (R&D) projects worth more than Rs. 120 crores.