Saliva holds bed bugs' blood-sucking secrets

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Washington, June 24 (ANI): Scientists are reporting the first preliminary description of the bed bug saliva proteins - a finding that could be used in diagnosing bed bug bites and preventing the itch.

The saliva proteins give the bug its ability to suck blood from its human victims and escape to bite again with risking a lethal slap. They have substances that make the victim's blood vessels dilate (for a better flow of blood), inhibit clotting, and prevent immediate pain and itching.

Using adult bed bugs (male and female) from a government-maintained colony, Jose Ribeiro and colleagues analysed the salivary gland proteins to find unique enzymes that characterize the saliva profile of the bug. The substances could also offer insight into how insects evolved to a blood diet.

"Independent of their function, these proteins may also be used for immune detection of humans and animals to bed bug exposure, or as part of desensitization vaccines," the report says.

The study appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research. (ANI)

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