Inactivation of infectious virus and serological detection of virus antigen in Rift Valley fever virus-exposed mosquitoes fixed with paraformaldehyde
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Vector-borne Diseases, Arbovirus Diseases Branch, 3156 Rampart Road, Mail Stop P02, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA. Electronic address: .Journal of virological methods (Impact Factor: 1.78). 02/2013; 189(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2013.01.014
Formaldehyde is routinely used to fix tissues in preparation for pathology studies, however concerns remain that treatment of tissues with cellular fixatives may not entirely inactivate infectious virus particles. This concern is of particular regulatory importance for research involving viruses that are classified as select agents such as Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). Therefore, the specific aims of this study were to 1) assay RVFV-exposed Aedes aegypti mosquitoes fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde for the presence of infectious RVFV particles at various time points following infection and 2) demonstrate the utility of immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for the detection of RVFV antigen in various tissues of paraformaldehyde-fixed mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were administered an infectious blood meal containing one of two strains of RVFV, harvested at various time points following infection, intrathoracically-inoculated with 4% paraformaldehyde, and fixed overnight at 4°C. The infection status of a subset of mosquitoes was verified by IFA on leg tissues prior to fixation, and infectivity of RVFV in fixed mosquito carcasses was determined by Vero cell plaque assay. Paraformaldehyde-fixed mosquitoes harvested 14 days post infection were also paraffin-embedded and sectioned for detection of RVFV antigen to particular tissues by IFA. None of the RVFV-exposed mosquitoes tested by Vero cell plaque assay contained infectious RVFV after fixation. Furthermore, incubation of mosquito sections with trypsin prior to antibody staining is recommended for optimal visualization of RVFV antigen in infected mosquito tissues by IFA.
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ABSTRACT: Formalin fixation is known to inactivate most viruses in a vaccine production context, but nothing is published about virus activity in tissues treated with alternative, non-crosslinking fixatives. We used a model assay based on cell culture to test formalin and PAXgene Tissue fixative for their virus-inactivating abilities. MDCK, A549, and MRC-5 cells were infected with Influenza A virus, Adenovirus, and Cytomegalovirus, respectively. When 75% of the cells showed a cytopathic effect (CPE), the cells were harvested and incubated for 15 min, or 1, 3, 6, or 24 hours, with PBS (positive control), 4% formalin, or PAXgene Tissue Fix. The cells were disrupted and the released virus was used to infect fresh MDCK, A549, and MRC-5 cells cultured on cover slips in 24-well plates. The viral cultures were monitored for CPE and by immunocytochemistry (ICC) to record viral replication and infectivity. Inactivation of Adenovirus by formalin occurred after 3 h, while Influenza A virus as well as Cytomegalovirus were inactivated by formalin after 15 min. All three virus strains were inactivated by PAXgene Tissue fixative after 15 min. We conclude that PAXgene Tissue fixative is at least as effective as formalin in inactivating infectivity of Influenza A virus, Adenovirus, and Cytomegalovirus.
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ABSTRACT: Previously, we investigated the role of the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) virulence genes NSs and NSm in mosquitoes and demonstrated that deletion of NSm significantly reduced the infection, dissemination, and transmission rates of RVFV in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The specific aim of this study was to further characterize midgut infection and escape barriers of RVFV in Ae. aegypti infected with reverse genetics-generated wild type RVFV (rRVF-wt) or RVFV lacking the NSm virulence gene (rRVF-ΔNSm) by examining sagittal sections of infected mosquitoes for viral antigen at various time points post-infection. Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were fed an infectious blood meal containing either rRVF-wt or rRVF-ΔNSm. On days 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 post-infection, mosquitoes from each experimental group were fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde, paraffin-embedded, sectioned, and examined for RVFV antigen by immunofluorescence assay. Remaining mosquitoes at day 14 were assayed for infection, dissemination, and transmission. Disseminated infections were observed in mosquitoes as early as three days post infection for both virus strains. However, infection rates for rRVF-ΔNSm were statistically significantly less than for rRVF-wt. Posterior midgut infections in mosquitoes infected with rRVF-wt were extensive, whereas midgut infections of mosquitoes infected with rRVF-ΔNSm were confined to one or a few small foci. Deletion of NSm resulted in the reduced ability of RVFV to enter, replicate, and disseminate from the midgut epithelial cells. NSm appears to have a functional role in the vector competence of mosquitoes for RVFV at the level of the midgut barrier.
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