Center for Animal Biotechnology  CAB : Parasitology : Ectoparasites

Ectoparasite control


The aim of this area of research is to identify novel ways of controling ectoparasites.

Research outline

Novel Targets for Parasite Control

Vern Bowles

Parasite proteases perform a number of crucial roles in the host/parasite relationship, being important in nutrition, immune manipulation, host invasion and parasite transformation. These proteases therefore represent important potential targets for parasite control. At CAB we have been studying proteases from a number of different arthropod species and investigating their role in egg hatch. Our results suggest that these molecules  represent novel targets for control of important pests including headlice. Research is continuing into the applicability of this approach to controlling a range of pests of importance in either the human, agricultural or veterinary sectors.

This technology is commercialised by Hatchtech Pty Ltd.

Media coverage of this technology:

Hatching novel products to control pests wins two awards

Lousy treatment secures millions

Left: The hatching of lice egg.

Fluorescence microscopy of L.cuprina eggs

Key publications

  • Bowles, V.M., Young, A.R., Barker, S.C. (2008) Metalloproteases and egg-hatching in Pediculus humanus, the body (clothes) louse of humans (Phthiraptera: Insecta). Parasitol 135(1):125-130.
  • Young, A., Mancuso, N., Meeusen, E.N.T. and Bowles, V.M. (1997). Proteases released by Lucilia cuprina during egg hatch. Insect Biochem Mol Biol 27:1017–1026.
  • Young, A.R., Mancuso, N. and Bowles, V.M. (1999). Biochemical aspects of egg hatch in endo- and ectoparasites: potential for rational drug design. Int J Parasitol 29:861–867.
  • Young, A., Mancuso, N., Meeusen, E.N.T. and Bowles, V.M. (2000). Characterisation of proteases involved in the egg hatch of Lucilia cuprina. Int J Parasitol 30:925-932.

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