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K-State Today

April 3, 2023

Hyeogsun Kwon to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Hyeogsun Kwon, assistant scientist at Iowa State University, will present his research, "Roles of prostaglandins in mosquito innate immunity and their implications for mosquito control," at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in 232 Ackert Hall.

Half of the world's population lives in areas where mosquitoes can transmit vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever and Zika viruses, causing more than 700,000 deaths every year. The interaction between mosquito vectors and pathogens is a key determinant of vector competence. Therefore, understanding immune molecules that influence pathogen development in the mosquito hosts can provide opportunities to disrupt disease transmission.

Prostaglandins are important bioactive signal molecules involved in processes of inflammation and innate immune responses in vertebrates that are derived from lipids in the plasma membrane. However, little is known about the roles of prostaglandins in mediating mosquito immunity against various pathogens. 

Kwon's research has provided the first compelling evidence that PGE2 signaling is activated in the mosquito following Plasmodium infection, modulating the function of a class of immune cells known as oenocytoids. Kwon's research has shown that PGE2 signaling mediates oenocytoid lysis, as well as regulates the expression of prophenoloxidases and antimicrobial peptides, which serve as important immune elicitors in limiting bacteria and malaria parasite survival. Moreover, using conserved inhibitors of PG biosynthesis — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; NSAIDs — the research data suggests that NSAIDs similarly interfere with insect PG biosynthesis, causing defects in mosquito immunity, fecundity, egg melanization, larval hatching and knockdown effects on mosquitoes following surface contact. Taken together, these data suggest that PG biosynthesis is essential for mosquito immunity, reproduction and physiology while offering significant potential to develop NSAIDs or their derivatives as novel insecticides for mosquito control.

If you wish to speak with Kwon during his visit, please contact Sherry Fleming at sdflemin@k-state.edu

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