RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Researchers at UC Riverside have identified a neurotoxin that isn’t harmful to any living thing except Anopheles mosquitoes. They plan to use it in developing a bacteria-based Anopheles insecticide.
About 30 years ago, scientists identified a strain of bacteria that kills Anopheles. Since the bacteria’s method of attack was not understood, it couldn’t be replicated or used as an alternative to chemical insecticides – until now.
It took the team, led by Sarjeet Gill, a professor of molecular, cell and systems biology at UC Riverside, 10 years to achieve a breakthrough in understanding the bacteria. Gill attributes the success to modern gene sequencing techniques. The team hit the bacteria with radiation, creating mutant bacterial strains that could not produce the toxin. By comparing the nontoxic strain to the one that kills Anopheles, they found proteins in the bacteria that are the keys to toxin production. The work is detailed in a paper published in Nature Communications.
“Identifying the mechanisms by which the bacteria targets Anopheles has not been easy,” Gill said. “We were excited not only to find the neurotoxin, called PMP1, but also several proteins that likely protect PMP1 as it’s being absorbed in the mosquito’s gut.”
Members of Gill’s team include postdoctoral scholars Estefania Contreras, Jianwu Chen, Harpal Dhillon and Nadia Qureshi, as well as graduate students Swati Chawla from UC Riverside, Geoffrey Masuyer and Pål Stenmark from Stockholm University and Han Lim Lee from the Institute for Medical Research in Malaysia. Their work was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
WEST CHESTER, Pa. – Green Lawn Fertilizing/Green Pest Solutions was featured on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2019 Best Places to Work list. This honor is awarded to companies in the greater Philadelphia area that are dedicated to creating positive work environments for their employees.
“It’s a great honor to be named a Best Place to Work by the Philadelphia Business Journal,” said Matt Jesson, president and owner of Green Lawn Fertilizing/Green Pest Solutions. “Our team members are essential to delivering our customers a superior experience, and we take great pride in cultivating an environment and culture for employees to thrive.”
To receive the award, employees at Green Lawn Fertilizing/Green Pest Solutions had to fill out a survey rating their company using the following categories: work environment, personal growth, professional development, people and embracing change and new ideas. Each nominee needed to have at least half of its employees complete the survey to be eligible.