Infection pattern and transmission potential of chikungunya virus in two New World laboratory-adapted Aedes aegypti strains.
ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne virus belonging to the Togaviridae, which is transmitted to humans by Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus. We describe the infection pattern of CHIKV in two New World Ae. aegypti strains, HWE and ORL. Both mosquito strains were susceptible to the virus but showed different infection patterns in midguts and salivary glands. Even though acquisition of a bloodmeal showed moderate levels of apoptosis in midgut tissue, there was no obvious additional CHIKV-induced apoptosis detectable during midgut infection. Analysis of expression of apoptosis-related genes suggested that CHIKV infection dampens rather than promotes apoptosis in the mosquito midgut. In both mosquito strains, the virus was present in saliva within two days post-oral infection. HWE and ORL mosquitoes exhibited no salivary gland infection barrier; however, only 60% (HWE) to 65% (ORL) of the females had released the virus in their saliva at one week post-oral acquisition, suggesting a salivary gland escape barrier. CHIKV induced an apoptotic response in salivary glands of HWE and ORL mosquitoes, demonstrating that the virus caused pathology in its natural vector.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Zika (ZIKV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses are emerging Aedes-borne viruses that are spreading outside their known geographic range and causing wide-scale epidemics. It has been reported that these viruses can be transmitted efficiently by Ae. aegypti. Recent studies have shown that Ae. aegypti when transinfected with certain Wolbachia strains shows a reduced replication and dissemination of dengue (DENV), Chikungunya (CHIKV), and Yellow Fever (YFV) viruses. The aim of this study was to determine whether the wMel strain of Wolbachia introgressed onto a Singapore Ae. aegypti genetic background was able to limit ZIKV and CHIKV infection in the mosquito. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Five to seven-day old mosquitoes either infected or uninfected with wMel Wolbachia were orally infected with a Ugandan strain of ZIKV and several outbreak strains of CHIKV. The midgut and salivary glands of each mosquito were sampled at days 6, 9 and 13 days post infectious blood meal to determine midgut infection and salivary glands dissemination rates, respectively. In general, all wild type Ae. aegypti were found to have high ZIKV and CHIKV infections in their midguts and salivary glands, across all sampling days, compared to Wolbachia infected counterparts. Median viral titre for all viruses in Wolbachia infected mosquitoes were significantly lower across all time points when compared to wild type mosquitoes. Most significantly, all but two and one of the wMel infected mosquitoes had no detectable ZIKV and CHIKV, respectively, in their salivary glands at 14 days post-infectious blood meal. CONCLUSIONS:Our results showed that wMel limits both ZIKV and CHIKV infection when introgressed into a Singapore Ae. aegypti genetic background. These results also strongly suggest that female Aedes aegypti carrying Wolbachia will have a reduced capacity to transmit ZIKV and CHIKV.
Project description:In the mosquito, the midgut epithelium is the initial tissue to become infected with an arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) that has been acquired from a vertebrate host along with a viremic bloodmeal. Following its replication in midgut epithelial cells, the virus needs to exit the midgut and infect secondary tissues including the salivary glands before it can be transmitted to another vertebrate host. The viral exit mechanism from the midgut, the midgut escape barrier (MEB), is poorly understood although it is an important determinant of mosquito vector competence for arboviruses. Using chikungunya virus (CHIKV) as a model in Aedes aegypti, we demonstrate that the basal lamina (BL) of the extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding the midgut constitutes a potential barrier for the virus. The BL, predominantly consisting of collagen IV and laminin, becomes permissive during bloodmeal digestion in the midgut lumen. Bloodmeal digestion, BL permissiveness, and CHIKV dissemination are coincident with increased collagenase activity, diminished collagen IV abundance, and BL shredding in the midgut between 24-32 h post-bloodmeal. This indicates that there may be a window-of-opportunity during which the MEB in Ae. aegypti becomes permissive for CHIKV. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are the principal extracellular endopeptidases responsible for the degradation/remodeling of the ECM including the BL. We focused on Ae. aegypti (Ae)MMP1, which is expressed in midgut epithelial cells, is inducible upon bloodfeeding, and shows collagenase (gelatinase) activity. However, attempts to inhibit AeMMP activity in general or specifically that of AeMMP1 did not seem to affect its function nor produce an altered midgut escape phenotype. As an alternative, we silenced and overexpressed the Ae. aegypti tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (AeTIMP) in the mosquito midgut. AeTIMP was highly upregulated in the midgut during bloodmeal digestion and was able to inhibit MMP activity in vitro. Bloodmeal-inducible, midgut-specific overexpression of AeTIMP or its expression via a recombinant CHIKV significantly increased midgut dissemination rates of the virus. Possibly, AeTIMP overexpression affected BL degradation and/or restoration thereby increasing the midgut dissemination efficiency of the virus.
Project description:The transmission cycle of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) requires that mosquito vectors get persistently infected with the virus, following its oral acqsuisition from a vertebrate host. The mosquito midgut is the initial organ that gets infected with orally acquired CHIKV. Following its replication in the midgut epithelium, the virus exits the midgut and infects secondary tissues including the salivary glands before being transmitted to another host. Here, we investigate the pattern of CHIKV dissemination from the midgut of Aedes aegypti at the ultrastructural level. Bloodmeal ingestion caused overstretching of the midgut basal lamina (BL), which was disrupted in areas adjacent to muscles surrounding the midgut as shown by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Using both transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) to analyze midgut preparations, mature chikungunya (CHIK) virions were found accumulating at the BL and within strands of the BL at 24?32 h post-infectious bloodmeal (pibm). From 48 h pibm onwards, virions no longer congregated at the BL and became dispersed throughout the basal labyrinth of the epithelial cells. Ingestion of a subsequent, non-infectious bloodmeal caused mature virions to congregate again at the midgut BL. Our study suggests that CHIKV needs a single replication cycle in the midgut epithelium before mature virions directly traverse the midgut BL during a relatively narrow time window, within 48 h pibm.
Project description:This study seeks to understand the mechanism of midgut escape and identify candidate genes and potential biochemical pathways involved in the midgut infection of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in vector mosquito Aedes aegypti. We conducted a comparative transcriptomic analysis of midgut samples of female mosquitoes,after feeding a saline meal (SM) or a protein meal (PM) containing CHIKV. Our results allow the conclusion that midgut-expressed genes not involved in blood or protein digestion can be identified by substituting either a bloodmeal or PM for a SM. In presence of orally acquired CHIKV in midguts of SM fed mosquitoes, the majority of the upregulated DE genes belonged to the categories immune system and catalytic activity. These genes included several serine-type endopeptidases, trypsins, collagenases, and M1 zinc metalloproteases, which potentially could be involved in the midgut escape mechanism of CHIKV. One of the serine metalloproteinase genes, AeLT, was further analyzed showing strong (MMP) collagenase activity in vitro. Our results present a set of candidate genes potentially responsible for overcoming the arbovirus midgut escape barrier (MEB) in Ae. aegypti. Overall design: We used genome-wide transcriptome analyses of midguts to reveal gene expression patterns in midguts of protein meal and saline meal (containing/not containing CHIKV) fed mosquitoes in comparison to a sugarfed control.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (Togaviridae, Alphavirus; CHIKV) is a mosquito-borne global health threat that has been transmitted transiently in the southeastern United States. A primary CHIKV mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, was recently established in the populous state of California, but the vector competence of Californian mosquitoes is unknown. Explosive CHIKV epidemics since 2004 have been associated with the acquisition of mosquito-adaptive mutations that enhance transmission by Ae. aegypti or Ae. albopictus. As a highly mutable RNA virus, CHIKV has the potential for extensive and rapid genetic diversification in vertebrate hosts and mosquito vectors. We previously demonstrated that expansion of CHIKV diversity in cell culture allows for greater adaptability to novel selection pressures, and that CHIKV fidelity variants are able to diversify more than wildtype (WT) CHIKV in mice. The evolution of intra-vector CHIKV populations and the correlation between CHIKV population diversity and infectivity and transmissibility in mosquitoes has not yet been studied. Here, we address these gaps in knowledge via experimental infection of Ae. aegypti from California with WT and fidelity variant CHIKV. We show that Ae. aegypti from California are highly competent vectors for CHIKV. We also report that CHIKV fidelity variants diversify more than WT in mosquitoes and exhibit attenuated infectivity at the level of the midgut. Furthermore, we demonstrate that intra-vector populations of CHIKV are subjected to purifying selection in mosquito bodies, and sequences of non-coding CHIKV regions are highly conserved. These findings will inform public health risk assessment for CHIKV in California and improve our understanding of constraints to CHIKV evolution in mosquitoes.
Project description:We have developed genetically modified Ae. aegypti mosquitoes that activate the conserved antiviral JAK/STAT pathway in the fat body tissue, by overexpressing either the receptor Dome or the Janus kinase Hop by the blood feeding-induced vitellogenin (Vg) promoter. Transgene expression inhibits infection with several dengue virus (DENV) serotypes in the midgut as well as systemically and in the salivary glands. The impact of the transgenes Dome and Hop on mosquito longevity was minimal, but it resulted in a compromised fecundity when compared to wild-type mosquitoes. Overexpression of Dome and Hop resulted in profound transcriptome regulation in the fat body tissue as well as the midgut tissue, pinpointing several expression signatures that reflect mechanisms of DENV restriction. Our transcriptome studies and reverse genetic analyses suggested that enrichment of DENV restriction factor and depletion of DENV host factor transcripts likely accounts for the DENV inhibition, and they allowed us to identify novel factors that modulate infection. Interestingly, the fat body-specific activation of the JAK/STAT pathway did not result in any enhanced resistance to Zika virus (ZIKV) or chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection, thereby indicating a possible specialization of the pathway’s antiviral role. Overall design: Fat body or midgut of Wild-type (WT, ORLxRock) vs. transgenic (VgHop or VgDome) Aedes aegypti. 4 biological replicates each
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and causes prolonged arthralgia in patients. After crossing the mosquito midgut barrier, the virus disseminates to tissues including the head and salivary glands. To better understand the interaction between Aedes albopictus and CHIKV, we performed RNASeq analysis on pools of mosquito heads and parts of the thorax 8 days post infection, which identified 159 differentially expressed transcripts in infected mosquitos compared to uninfected controls. After validation using RT-qPCR (reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction), inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTKi), which has previously been shown to be anti-inflammatory in mammals after viral infection, was further evaluated for its functional significance. Knockdown of BTKi using double-stranded RNA in a mosquito cell line showed no significant difference in viral RNA or infectivity titer. However, BTKi gene knocked-down cells showed increased apoptosis 24 hours post-infection compared with control cells, suggesting involvement of BTKi in the mosquito response to viral infection. Since BTK in mammals promotes an inflammatory response and has been shown to be involved in osteoclastogenesis, a hallmark of CHIKV pathogenesis, our results suggest a possible conserved mechanism at play between mosquitoes and mammals. Taken together, these results will add to our understanding of Aedes Albopictus interactions with CHIKV.
Project description:Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a medically important mosquito-borne virus transmitted to humans by infected Aedes (Stegomyia) species. In 2013?2014, Ae. aegypti transmitted CHIKV to humans in the Caribbean and in 2005?2006, Ae. albopictus transmitted CHIKV on La Réunion Island (Indian Ocean basin). CHIKV LR2006 OPY1 from the La Réunion epidemic was associated with a mutation (E1:A226V) in the viral E1 glycoprotein that enhanced CHIKV transmission by Ae. albopictus. CHIKV R99659 from the Caribbean outbreak did not have the E1:A226V mutation. Here, we analyzed the salivary glands and saliva of Ae. albopictus strains from New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana and La Réunion after infection with each virus to determine their transmission potential. We infected the Ae. albopictus strains with blood meals containing 3?7 × 10? PFU/mL of each virus and analyzed the mosquitoes nine days later to maximize infection of their salivary glands. All four Ae. albopictus strains were highly susceptible to LR2006 OPY1 and R99659 viruses and their CHIKV disseminated infection rates (DIR) were statistically similar (p = 0.3916). The transmission efficiency rate (TER) was significantly lower for R99659 virus compared to LR2006 OPY1 virus in all Ae. albopictus strains and Ae. aegypti (Poza Rica) (p = 0.012) suggesting a salivary gland exit barrier to R99659 virus not seen with LR2006 OPY1 infections. If introduced, LR2006 OPY1 virus poses an increased risk of transmission by both Aedes species in the western hemisphere.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are highly pathogenic arthropod-borne viruses that are currently a serious health burden in the Americas, and elsewhere in the world. ZIKV and CHIKV co-circulate in the same geographical regions and are mainly transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. There is a growing number of case reports of ZIKV and CHIKV co-infections in humans, but it is uncertain whether co-infection occurs via single or multiple mosquito bites. Here we investigate the potential of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes to transmit both ZIKV and CHIKV in one bite, and we assess the consequences of co-infection on vector competence.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>First, growth curves indicated that co-infection with CHIKV negatively affects ZIKV production in mammalian, but not in mosquito cells. Next, Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were infected with ZIKV, CHIKV, or co-infected via an infectious blood meal or intrathoracic injections. Infection and transmission rates, as well as viral titers of positive mosquitoes, were determined at 14 days after blood meal or 7 days after injection. Saliva and bodies of (co-)infected mosquitoes were scored concurrently for the presence of ZIKV and/or CHIKV using a dual-colour immunofluorescence assay. The results show that orally exposed Ae. aegypti mosquitoes are highly competent, with transmission rates of up to 73% for ZIKV, 21% for CHIKV, and 12% of mosquitoes transmitting both viruses in one bite. However, simultaneous oral exposure to both viruses did not change infection and transmission rates compared to exposure to a single virus. Intrathoracic injections indicate that the selected strain of Ae. aegypti has a strong salivary gland barrier for CHIKV, but a less profound barrier for ZIKV.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>This study shows that Ae. aegypti can transmit both ZIKV and CHIKV via a single bite. Furthermore, co-infection of ZIKV and CHIKV does not influence the vector competence of Ae. aegypti.
Project description:The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector for medically important arthropod-borne viruses, including chikungunya virus (CHIKV). Following oral acquisition, an arbovirus has to persistently infect several organs in the mosquito before becoming transmissible to another vertebrate host. A major obstacle an arbovirus has to overcome during its infection cycle inside the mosquito is the midgut escape barrier, representing the exit mechanism arboviruses utilize when disseminating from the midgut. To understand the transcriptomic basis of midgut escape and to reveal genes involved in the process, we conducted a comparative transcriptomic analysis of midgut samples from mosquitoes which had received a saline meal (SM) or a protein meal (PM) (not) containing CHIKV.CHIKV which was orally acquired by a mosquito along with a SM or PM productively infected the midgut epithelium and disseminated to secondary tissues. A total of 27 RNA-Seq libraries from midguts of mosquitoes that had received PM or SM (not) containing CHIKV at 1 and 2 days post-feeding were generated and sequenced. Fewer than 80 genes responded differentially to the presence of CHIKV in midguts of mosquitoes that had acquired the virus along with SM or PM. SM feeding induced differential expression (DE) of 479 genes at day 1 and 314 genes at day 2 when compared to midguts of sugarfed mosquitoes. By comparison, PM feeding induced 6029 DE genes at day 1 and 7368 genes at day 2. Twenty-three DE genes encoding trypsins, metalloproteinases, and serine-type endopeptidases were significantly upregulated in midguts of mosquitoes at day 1 following SM or PM ingestion. Two of these genes were Ae. aegypti late trypsin (AeLT) and serine collagenase 1 precursor (AeSP1). In vitro, recombinant AeLT showed strong matrix metalloproteinase activity whereas recombinant AeSP1 did not.By substituting a bloodmeal for SM, we identified midgut-expressed genes not involved in blood or protein digestion. These included genes coding for trypsins, metalloproteinases, and serine-type endopeptidases, which could be involved in facilitating midgut escape for arboviruses in Ae. aegypti. The presence of CHIKV in any of the ingested meals had relatively minor effects on the overall gene expression profiles in midguts.