In collaboration with C. Wegener and R. Predel, we are involved in annotation of the bedbug genome. Our group specialises on peptides and peptide receptors, to be expanded to seminal fluid proteins. This work is augmented by mass spectrometry approaches to quantify the composition of peptides in different parts of the brain (see left for a picture of the entire nervous system).
Eventually, this work will be combined with our preliminary work, in which we developed a technique that allowed us to separate the effect of stretch receptors in the gut and the cuticle. This may be an important contribution to identify how blood-feeding insects feed (and how their bite may be prevented!).
NERVOUS? – The neuropeptidome of the bedbug shows two out of 144 neuropeptides deviate from the ‘insect norm’ – corazonin and myosuppressin. Can they be targeted for specific control? Link.
INFLATED – We developed a technique to inflate bedbugs with air to seperate effects of abdomen and gut distension after a blood meal.
DIVERSE – The seminal fluid of bedbugs contains about 100 different proteins. Paper here. And many others substances.