Researchers at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine have identified a new mechanism for mosquitoes to fight insecticides. After studying two malaria-carrying mosquitoes in West Africa, the researchers found that specific binding proteins in their legs were highly expressed in mosquito populations that were resistant to insecticides.
Researchers attribute this to lower-than-expected efficiency of “insecticide” nets. When mosquitoes land on mosquito esmonets, leg proteins come into direct contact with insecticides.
These proteins could be potential targets for additives to overcome drug resistance in the future. The researchers found that lowering protein levels through partially silent genes effectively weakened mosquito resistance to insecticides.