Bed Bug Feeding Adaptations

Bed Bug

Underside of Immature Bed Bug

A major challenge for blood feeding insects is preventing blood platelets from aggregating (clotting) and blocking the blood intake tube. Sequencing of the Bed Bug genome* gives clues about adaptations for blood feeding. The Bed Bug has an expanded suite of apyrases, salivary proteins that interfere with ADP-dependent platelet aggregation.

Feeding without triggering pain is an important trait to avoid detection.  Bed Bugs have 12 members of the inositol polyphosphate phosphatase gene family that bind nitric oxide, and 6 members of the Ap4a_hydrolase family, genes encoding enzymes important in cell signaling pathways. Some of these genes likely are involved in deadening the detection of Bed Bug feeding by producing proteins that affect nerves and nerve signaling. Now that the genes are identified, it pave the way to study their effects.

*Benoit & Colleagues. Unique features of a global human ectoparasite identified through sequencing of the bed bug genome. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 7:10165 2 Feb 2016
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10165

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Bed Bug Feeding Adaptations

  1. Pingback: Bed Bug Feeding Adaptations – Entomo Planet

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