Filippo Mancia of Columbia University in the U.S. will perform crystallization experiments on a key olfactory receptor used by mosquitoes to detect humans. The aim of these studies is to determine at an atomic level the conserved regions on the olfactory receptor in order to develop drug therapies to block these receptors. This project's Phase I research generated diffraction quality crystals of this targeted mosquito olfactory receptor, and in Phase II, the team will optimize the crystal to determine the structure of the receptor and how it binds to small molecule anti-malarial compounds. Visualizing this interaction in atomic detail will aid in the optimization of these compounds as highly effective insect repellents.
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