In the Western Hemisphere, Zika virus is thought to be transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. To determine the extent to which Ae. albopictus mosquitoes from the United States are capable of transmitting Zika virus and the influence of virus dose, virus strain, and mosquito species on vector competence, we evaluated multiple doses of representative Zika virus strains in Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Virus preparation (fresh vs. frozen) significantly affected virus infectivity in mosquitoes. We calculated 50% infectious doses to be 6.1–7.5 log10 PFU/mL; minimum infective dose was 4.2 log10 PFU/mL. Ae. albopictus mosquitoes were more susceptible to infection than Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, but transmission efficiency was higher for Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, indicating a transmission barrier in Ae. albopictus mosquitoes. Results suggest that, although Zika virus transmission is relatively inefficient overall and dependent on virus strain and mosquito species, Ae. albopictus mosquitoes could become major vectors in the Americas.
Climatic changes forecasted in the coming years are likely to result in substantial alterations to the distributions and populations of vectors of arthropod-borne pathogens. Characterization of the effect of temperature shifts on the life history traits of specific vectors is needed to more accurately define how such changes could impact the epidemiological patterns of vector-borne disease. Here, we determined the effect of temperatures including 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32°C on development time, immature survival, adult survival, mosquito size, blood feeding, and fecundity of both field and colonized populations of the Culex mosquitoes Culex pipiens L., Culex quinquefasciatus Say, and Culex restuans Theobald. Our results demonstrate that temperature significantly affects all of these traits, yet also that the extent of this effect is at times incongruent among temperatures, as well as being population and species-specific. Comparisons of colonized mosquitoes with field populations generally demonstrate decreased adult and immature survival, increased blood feeding and egg production, and significant variation in the effects of temperature, indicating that such colonies are not fully representative of natural populations. Results with field populations in general indicate that increases in temperature are likely to accelerate mosquito development, and that this effect is greater at temperatures below 24°C, but also that temperature significantly increases mortality. Among field populations, Cx. restuans were most affected by temperature increases, with decreased longevity relative to other species and significant increases in adult and immature mortality measured with each incremental temperature increase. Despite the unique climates characteristic of the geographic ranges of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens, evidence of significant species-specific adaptation to temperature ranges was not seen. Taken together, these results indicate that geographic region, as well as species and population differences, must be considered when measuring the effect of temperature on vector populations.
The inter-relationship between mosquitoes and the viruses they transmit is complex. While previously understood barriers to infection and transmission remain valid, additional factors have been uncovered that suggest an “arms race” between mosquito and virus. These include the mosquito microbiota and interplay between mosquito and viral genetics. Following an infectious blood meal, the mosquito mounts an immune and transcriptional response, leading to altered expression of multiple genes. These complex interactions, specific to vector and virus genotypes, combine with external influences, particularly temperature, to determine vector competence. The mosquito’s response to the infecting agent may have consequences in terms of longevity, feeding behavior and/or fecundity. These factors, together with population density and the frequency of host contact determine vectorial capacity.
To determine if West Nile virus (WNV) infection of insect cells induces a protective RNAi response, Drosophila melanogaster S2 and Aedes albopictus C6/36 cells were infected with WNV, and the production of WNV-homologous small RNAs was assayed as an indicator of RNAi induction. A distinct population of approximately 25 nt WNV-homologous small RNAs was detected in infected S2 cells but not C6/36 cells. RNAi knockdown of Argonaute 2 in S2 cells resulted in slightly increased susceptibility to WNV infection, suggesting that some WNV-homologous small RNAs produced in infected S2 cells are functional small interfering RNAs. WNV was shown to infect adult D. melanogaster, and adult flies containing mutations in each of four different RNAi genes (Argonaute 2, spindle-E, piwi, and Dicer-2) were significantly more susceptible to WNV infection than wildtype flies. These results combined with the analysis of WNV infection of S2 and C6/36 cells support the conclusion that WNV infection of D. melanogaster, but perhaps not Ae. albopictus, induces a protective RNAi response.
West Nile Virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was introduced into the U.S. in the New York City area in 1999. Despite its successful establishment and rapid spread in a naive environment, WNV has undergone limited evolution since its introduction. This evolutionary stability has been attributed to compromises made to permit alternating cycles of viral replication in vertebrate hosts and arthropod vectors. Outbreaks of a close relative of WNV, St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV), occur in the U.S. periodically and are also characterized by limited genetic change overtime. We measured both phenotypic and genotypic changes in WNV and SLEV serially passaged in mosquito cell culture in order to clarify the role of an individual host cell type in flavivirus adaptation and evolution. Genetic changes in passaged WNV and SLEV were minimal but led to increased relative fitness and replicative ability of the virus in the homologous cell line C6/36 mosquito cells. Similar increases were not measured in the heterologous cell line DF-1 avian cells. These phenotypic changes are consistent with the concept of cell-specific adaptation in flaviviruses.
West Nile virus (WNV) has successfully spread throughout the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America since its 1999 introduction into North America. Despite infecting a broad range of both mosquito and avian species, the virus remains highly genetically conserved. This lack of evolutionary change over space and time is common with many arboviruses and is frequently attributed to the adaptive constraints resulting from the virus cycling between vertebrate hosts and invertebrate vectors. WNV, like most RNA viruses studied thus far, has been shown in nature to exist as a highly genetically diverse population of genotypes. Few studies have directly evaluated the role of these mutant spectra in viral fitness and adaptation. Using clonal analysis and reverse genetics experiments, this study evaluated genotype diversity and the importance of consensus change in producing the adaptive phenotype of WNV following sequential mosquito cell passage. The results indicated that increases in the replicative ability of WNV in mosquito cells correlate with increases in the size of the mutant spectrum, and that consensus change is not solely responsible for alterations in viral fitness and adaptation of WNV. These data provide evidence of the importance of quasispecies dynamics in the adaptation of a flavivirus to new and changing environments and hosts, with little evidence of significant genetic change.
West Nile virus (WNV; Flavivirus; Flaviviridae) is the cause of the most widespread arthropod-borne viral disease in the world and the largest outbreak of neuroinvasive disease ever observed. Mosquito-borne outbreaks are influenced by intrinsic (e.g., vector and viral genetics, vector and host competence, vector life-history traits) and extrinsic (e.g., temperature, rainfall, human land use) factors that affect virus activity and mosquito biology in complex ways. The concept of vectorial capacity integrates these factors to address interactions of the virus with the arthropod host, leading to a clearer understanding of their complex interrelationships, how they affect transmission of vector-borne disease, and how they impact human health. Vertebrate factors including host competence, population dynamics, and immune status also affect transmission dynamics. The complexity of these interactions are further exacerbated by the fact that not only can divergent hosts differentially alter the virus, but the virus also can affect both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts in ways that significantly alter patterns of virus transmission. This chapter concentrates on selected components of the virus-vector-vertebrate interrelationship, focusing specifically on how interactions between vector, virus, and environment shape the patterns and intensity of WNV transmission.
High rates of error-prone replication result in the rapid accumulation of genetic diversity of RNA viruses. Recent studies suggest that mutation rates are selected for optimal viral fitness and that modest variations in replicase fidelity may be associated with viral attenuation. Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are unique in their requirement for host cycling and may necessitate substantial genetic and phenotypic plasticity. In order to more thoroughly investigate the correlates, mechanisms and consequences of arbovirus fidelity, we selected fidelity variants of West Nile virus (WNV; Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) utilizing selection in the presence of a mutagen. We identified two mutations in the WNV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase associated with increased fidelity, V793I and G806R, and a single mutation in the WNV methyltransferase, T248I, associated with decreased fidelity. Both deep-sequencing and in vitro biochemical assays confirmed strain-specific differences in both fidelity and mutational bias. WNV fidelity variants demonstrated host-specific alterations to replicative fitness in vitro, with modest attenuation in mosquito but not vertebrate cell culture. Experimental infections of colonized and field populations of Cx. quinquefaciatus demonstrated that WNV fidelity alterations are associated with a significantly impaired capacity to establish viable infections in mosquitoes. Taken together, these studies (i) demonstrate the importance of allosteric interactions in regulating mutation rates, (ii) establish that mutational spectra can be both sequence and strain-dependent, and (iii) display the profound phenotypic consequences associated with altered replication complex function of flaviviruses.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2024 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.