Microbiota

Bacterial signals promote mosquito development

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Science  04 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6350, pp. 468-469
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6350.468-f

The ways of the microbiota are many and mysterious. All organisms have prokaryote partners that contribute to health, as well as disease. Coon et al. report that larval mosquitos require bacteria in their gut to complete development into an adult insect. In this case, the bacteria are not making a nutritional contribution, however. To be helpful to the insect, this strain of Escherichia coli has to supply cytochrome bd oxidase expression. The respiratory function of the oxidase causes hypoxia, which then acts as a signal to promote host development. The hypoxia initiates hypoxia-inducible transcription factors and promotes molting. Blocking such cues might be a strategy to interrupt the life cycle of disease-carrying mosquitos.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1702983114 (2017).

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