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No Antibodies, No Problem: Researchers Identify How Mosquito Immune System Attacks Specific Infections, Johns Hopkins University Study



10/19/2012 7:40:09 AM

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have determined a new mechanism by which the mosquitoes' immune system can respond with specificity to infections with various pathogens, including the parasite that causes malaria in humans, using one single gene. Unlike humans and other animals, insects do not make antibodies to target specific infections. According to the Johns Hopkins researchers, mosquitoes use a mechanism known as alternative splicing to arrange different combinations of binding domains, encoded by the same AgDscam gene, into protein repertoires that are specific for different invading pathogens. The researchers' findings were published October 18 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe and could lead to new ways to prevent the spread of a variety of mosquito born illnesses.

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