Chemical signaling in mosquito–host interactions: the role of human skin microbiota

Willem Takken, Niels O. Verhulst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Anthropophilic mosquitoes use host-derived volatile compounds for host seeking. Recently it has become evident that many of these compounds are of microbial origin. Host seeking of mosquitoes is, therefore, a tritrophic relationship and suggests co-evolution between blood hosts and their microbial community to the benefit of the mosquito. Chemical analysis of bacterial headspace resulted in discovery of several compounds that make up the attractive blend to which mosquitoes respond. Future studies should determine which host factors shape the skin microbial community and attractive volatiles produced. It is argued that skin microbial volatiles can be exploited for the control of mosquitoes and hence as a tool for mosquito-borne disease control and thus aid in the elimination of vector-borne disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-74
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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