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Identification and characterization of a mosquito-specific eggshell organizing factor in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

Mosquito-borne pathogens infect millions of people worldwide, and the rise in insecticide resistance is exacerbating this problem. A new generation of environmentally safe insecticides will be essential to control insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. One potential route to such novel insecticide targets is the identification of proteins specifically needed for mosquito reproduction. Using RNA interference to screen mosquito-specific genes in Aedes aegypti (the mosquito that transmits yellow fever), Isoe et al. identified the eggshell organizing factor 1 (EOF1) protein as playing an essential role in eggshell melanization and embryonic development. Nearly 100% of the eggs laid by EOF1-deficient females had a defective eggshell and were non-viable. Additional experiments revealed that EOF1 also plays an essential role in eggshell formation in Aedes albopictus, a carrier of Zika virus and dengue fever. The image shows a scanning electron micrograph of a small region (about 20 ┬Ám across) of the shell from a normal Aedes aegypti egg.

Image Credit: pbio.3000068