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Genetic Silence of the odorant receptor co-receptor (orco) in Aedes aegypti for analysis of sexual behavior

Grant number: 21/09136-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Parasitology - Entomology and Malacology of Parasites and Vectors
Principal Investigator:Paulo Eduardo Martins Ribolla
Grantee:Cindy Megumi Kimura
Host Institution: Instituto de Biotecnologia (IBTEC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Arboviruses are viruses characterized by their transmission through hematophagous arthropods, in which viral multiplication occurs. Its transmission cycle develops between invertebrates and vertebrates as amplifying hosts. These pathogens are responsible for infectious diseases named arboviruses, a prominent target in monitoring Brazilian public health. An important factor that causes the high incidence reproductive success of the vectors, since after copulation the female demands blood-feeding and the search for a place to oviposit. Thus, it is understood that courtship and mating are fundamental processes for the maintenance of mosquitoes. For these interactions to happen, there is a whole mechanism of chemical communication involved between the partners, with the pheromones being of notable prominence. Insects have the ability to detect attractive chemicals through the use of chemosensory receptors, including Odor Receptor (OR) proteins. These molecules are composed of an odorant receptor co-receptor (orco) and a variable odorant subunit. Previous studies in insects have linked silencing of orco to reduced copulation rate, as well as a notable decrease in oviposition in females. Based on the above, the objective of this project is to understand the role of the olfactory receptor co-receptor (orco) in sexual courtship and mating behavior in Aedes aegypti. To this end, the interference RNA technique will be used in the larval stage of the insects to suppress the expression of genes involved and verify the change in sexual behavior. (AU)

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