Zoology -- How a mosquito's CO2 detection system works?

In summary, the detection of CO2 in mosquitoes is made by npa neurons, but the mechanism of how the detection occurs is not fully understood. In Drosophila, CO2 sensing neurons open ion channels in response to high CO2 levels by sensing intracellular acid levels and triggering changes in membrane potential. However, there is no clear explanation for how the channel protein conformation changes in response to high pH to cause the ion channel to open.
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  • #2
Don't know about mosquitoes, but in Drosophilia, CO2 sensing neurons have been studied. Drosophila melanogaster is the best understood insect due to its status as a research model organism. Many, but not necessarily all of its receptors will probably be shared with mosquitoes. Both mosquitoes and Drosophila are diptern flies (only one pair of large wings).

In Drosophila, at least some CO2 sensing neurons seem to open ion channels in response to high CO2 levels by sensing intracellular acid levels.
The acidity of intracellular fluids will increase when exposed to high CO2 levels, triggering the channel to allow ions to cross the membrane leading to changes in membrane potential.

I have not found a description of a mechanism to change in channel protein conformation in high pH to underlie its opening.
 
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  • #3
Hello

Thank you for your answer! :D

Regards,
ORF
 

1. How do mosquitoes detect carbon dioxide (CO2)?

Mosquitoes have specialized sensory organs called sensilla located on their antennae. These sensilla contain nerve cells that are sensitive to carbon dioxide and can detect even small changes in its concentration.

2. What role does carbon dioxide play in mosquito behavior?

Carbon dioxide is a key factor in mosquito behavior as it is one of the primary cues that they use to locate their hosts for blood meals. When we exhale, we release a plume of carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes and helps them find us.

3. How do mosquitoes use their CO2 detection system to find hosts?

Mosquitoes use a process called "host-seeking" to locate their hosts. They can sense carbon dioxide from up to 50 meters away and use it to navigate towards potential hosts. Once they are close enough, they can also detect other chemicals, such as lactic acid and octenol, to pinpoint the exact location of their target.

4. Are all mosquitoes equally sensitive to carbon dioxide?

No, different species of mosquitoes have varying levels of sensitivity to carbon dioxide. Some species, like the Aedes aegypti mosquito, are highly attracted to human breath and can detect carbon dioxide at very low concentrations. Other species may be more attracted to other animals or sources of carbon dioxide.

5. Can mosquitoes adapt to changes in carbon dioxide levels?

Yes, mosquitoes can adapt and adjust their behavior based on changes in carbon dioxide levels. For example, if there is a decrease in carbon dioxide levels, they may be more likely to fly closer to the ground to find their hosts. Additionally, some studies have shown that mosquitoes may become less sensitive to carbon dioxide over time if they are frequently exposed to it.

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