West Nile Virus Genetic Diversity is Maintained during Transmission by Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus Mosquitoes
ABSTRACT Due to error-prone replication, RNA viruses exist within hosts as a heterogeneous population of non-identical, but related viral variants. These populations may undergo bottlenecks during transmission that stochastically reduce variability leading to fitness declines. Such bottlenecks have been documented for several single-host RNA viruses, but their role in the population biology of obligate two-host viruses such as arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) in vivo is unclear, but of central importance in understanding arbovirus persistence and emergence. Therefore, we tracked the composition of West Nile virus (WNV; Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) populations during infection of the vector mosquito, Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus to determine whether WNV populations undergo bottlenecks during transmission by this host. Quantitative, qualitative and phylogenetic analyses of WNV sequences in mosquito midguts, hemolymph and saliva failed to document reductions in genetic diversity during mosquito infection. Further, migration analysis of individual viral variants revealed that while there was some evidence of compartmentalization, anatomical barriers do not impose genetic bottlenecks on WNV populations. Together, these data suggest that the complexity of WNV populations are not significantly diminished during the extrinsic incubation period of mosquitoes.
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ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that causes chikungunya fever, a severe, debilitating disease that often produces chronic arthralgia. Since 2004, CHIKV has emerged in Africa, Indian Ocean islands, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, causing millions of human infections. Central to understanding CHIKV emergence is knowledge of the natural ecology of transmission and vector infection dynamics. This review presents current understanding of CHIKV infection dynamics in mosquito vectors and its relationship to human disease emergence. The following topics are reviewed: CHIKV infection and vector life history traits including transmission cycles, genetic origins, distribution, emergence and spread, dispersal, vector competence, vector immunity and microbial interactions, and co-infection by CHIKV and other arboviruses. The genetics of vector susceptibility and host range changes, population heterogeneity and selection for the fittest viral genomes, dual host cycling and its impact on CHIKV adaptation, viral bottlenecks and intrahost diversity, and adaptive constraints on CHIKV evolution are also discussed. The potential for CHIKV re-emergence and expansion into new areas and prospects for prevention via vector control are also briefly reviewed.Viruses 11/2014; 6(11):4628-4663. DOI:10.3390/v6114628 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Globally, regions at the highest risk for emerging infectious diseases are often the ones with the fewest resources. As a result, implementing sustainable infectious disease surveillance systems in these regions is challenging. The cost of these programs and difficulties associated with collecting, storing and transporting relevant samples have hindered them in the regions where they are most needed. Therefore, we tested the sensitivity and feasibility of a novel surveillance technique called xenosurveillance. This approach utilizes the host feeding preferences and behaviors of Anopheles gambiae, which are highly anthropophilic and rest indoors after feeding, to sample viruses in human beings. We hypothesized that mosquito bloodmeals could be used to detect vertebrate viral pathogens within realistic field collection timeframes and clinically relevant concentrations. To validate this approach, we examined variables influencing virus detection such as the duration between mosquito blood feeding and mosquito processing, the pathogen nucleic acid stability in the mosquito gut and the pathogen load present in the host's blood at the time of bloodmeal ingestion using our laboratory model. Our findings revealed that viral nucleic acids, at clinically relevant concentrations, could be detected from engorged mosquitoes for up to 24 hours post feeding by qRT-PCR. Subsequently, we tested this approach in the field by examining blood from engorged mosquitoes from two field sites in Liberia. Using next-generation sequencing and PCR we were able to detect the genetic signatures of multiple viral pathogens including Epstein-Barr virus and canine distemper virus. Together, these data demonstrate the feasibility of xenosurveillance and in doing so validated a simple and non-invasive surveillance tool that could be used to complement current biosurveillance efforts.
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ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) was shown over 18 years ago to be a mechanism by which arbovirus replication and transmission could be controlled in arthropod vectors. During the intervening period, research on RNAi has defined many of the components and mechanisms of this antiviral pathway in arthropods, yet a number of unexplored questions remain. RNAi refers to RNA-mediated regulation of gene expression. Originally, the term described silencing of endogenous genes by introduction of exogenous double-stranded (ds)RNA with the same sequence as the gene to be silenced. Further research has shown that RNAi comprises three gene regulation pathways that are mediated by small RNAs: the small interfering (si)RNA, micro (mi)RNA, and Piwi-interacting (pi)RNA pathways. The exogenous (exo-)siRNA pathway is now recognized as a major antiviral innate immune response of arthropods. More recent studies suggest that the piRNA and miRNA pathways might also have important roles in arbovirus-vector interactions. This review will focus on current knowledge of the role of the exo-siRNA pathway as an arthropod vector antiviral response and on emerging research into vector piRNA and miRNA pathway modulation of arbovirus-vector interactions. Although it is assumed that arboviruses must evade the vector's antiviral RNAi response in order to maintain their natural transmission cycles, the strategies by which this is accomplished are not well defined. RNAi is also an important tool for arthropod gene knock-down in functional genomics studies and in development of arbovirus-resistant mosquito populations. Possible arbovirus strategies for evasion of RNAi and applications of RNAi in functional genomics analysis and arbovirus transmission control will also be reviewed.Viruses 02/2015; 7(2):820-843. DOI:10.3390/v7020820 · 3.28 Impact Factor