Acceptability of Aedes aegypti blood feeding on dengue virus-infected human volunteers for vector competence studies in Iquitos, Peru.
ABSTRACT: As part of a study to investigate drivers of dengue virus (DENV) transmission dynamics, this qualitative study explored whether DENV-infected residents of Iquitos, Peru, considered it acceptable (1) to participate in direct mosquito feeding experiments (lab-reared Aedes aegypti mosquitoes fed directly on human volunteers) and (2) to provide blood meals indirectly (Ae. aegypti fed on blood drawn from participants by venipuncture). Twelve focus group discussions (FGDs; 94 participants: 82 females and 12 males) were conducted in January 2014 to explore six themes: (1) concerns and preferences regarding direct mosquito feeds and blood draws, (2) comprehension of and misconceptions about study procedures, (3) motivating factors for participation, (4) acceptability of children's participation, (5) willingness to provide multiple samples over several days, and (6) preference for direct feedings in homes versus the study laboratory. Results of FGDs, including one with 5 of 53 past direct mosquito feed participants, indicated that mosquito feeding procedures are acceptable to Iquitos residents when they are provided with information and a few key messages are properly reinforced. FGD participants' concerns focused primarily on safety issues rather than discomfort associated with mosquito bites. A video explaining the study dramatically increased comprehension of the study procedures. The majority of participants expressed a preference for mosquito feeding over venipuncture. Adults supported child participation if the children themselves assented. For most participants, home feedings were preferred over those in a laboratory. A major impetus for participation was the idea that results would contribute to an improved understanding of DENV transmission in Iquitos. Findings from our study will support future large-scale studies that employ direct mosquito feeding, a low-risk, non-invasive procedure that is experimentally superior to artificial mosquito feeding methods.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transmission of dengue virus (DENV) from humans to mosquitoes represents a critical component of dengue epidemiology. Examinations of this process have generally been hampered by a lack of methods that adequately represent natural acquisition of DENV by mosquitoes from humans. In this study, we assessed artificial and natural blood feeding methods based on rates of DENV infection and dissemination within mosquitoes for use in a field-based epidemiological cohort study in Iquitos, Peru. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Our study was implemented, stepwise, between 2011 and 2015. Participants who were 5 years and older with 5 or fewer days of fever were enrolled from ongoing clinic- and neighborhood-based studies on dengue in Iquitos. Wild type, laboratory-reared Aedes aegypti were fed directly on febrile individuals or on blood collected from participants that was either untreated or treated with EDTA. Mosquitoes were tested after approximately 14 days of extrinsic incubation for DENV infection and dissemination. A total of 58 participants, with viremias ranging from 1.3 × 10(2) to 2.9 × 10(6) focus-forming units per mL of serum, participated in one or more feeding methods. DENV infection and dissemination rates were not significantly different following direct and indirect-EDTA feeding; however, they were significantly lower for mosquitoes that fed indirectly on blood with no additive. Relative to direct feeding, infection rates showed greater variation following indirect-EDTA than indirect-no additive feeding. Dissemination rates were similar across all feeding methods. No differences were detected in DENV infection or dissemination rates in mosquitoes fed directly on participants with different dengue illness severity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Our study demonstrates the feasibility of using direct and indirect feeding methods for field-based studies on vector competence. Direct mosquito feeding is preferable in terms of logistical ease, biosecurity, and reliability.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is transmitted by infectious mosquitoes during blood-feeding via saliva containing biologically-active proteins. Here, we examined the effect of varying DENV infection modality in rhesus macaques in order to improve the DENV nonhuman primate (NHP) challenge model. NHPs were exposed to DENV-1 via subcutaneous or intradermal inoculation of virus only, intradermal inoculation of virus and salivary gland extract, or infectious mosquito feeding. The infectious mosquito feeding group exhibited delayed onset of viremia, greater viral loads, and altered clinical and immune responses compared to other groups. After 15 months, NHPs in the subcutaneous and infectious mosquito feeding groups were re-exposed to either DENV-1 or DENV-2. Viral replication and neutralizing antibody following homologous challenge were suggestive of sterilizing immunity, whereas heterologous challenge resulted in productive, yet reduced, DENV-2 replication and boosted neutralizing antibody. These results show that a more transmission-relevant exposure modality resulted in viral replication closer to that observed in humans.
Project description:Long-term disease surveillance data provide a basis for studying drivers of pathogen transmission dynamics. Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease caused by four distinct, but related, viruses (DENV-1-4) that potentially affect over half the world's population. Dengue incidence varies seasonally and on longer time scales, presumably driven by the interaction of climate and host susceptibility. Precise understanding of dengue dynamics is constrained, however, by the relative paucity of laboratory-confirmed longitudinal data.We studied 10 years (2000-2010) of laboratory-confirmed, clinic-based surveillance data collected in Iquitos, Peru. We characterized inter and intra-annual patterns of dengue dynamics on a weekly time scale using wavelet analysis. We explored the relationships of case counts to climatic variables with cross-correlation maps on annual and trimester bases.Transmission was dominated by single serotypes, first DENV-3 (2001-2007) then DENV-4 (2008-2010). After 2003, incidence fluctuated inter-annually with outbreaks usually occurring between October and April. We detected a strong positive autocorrelation in case counts at a lag of ? 70 weeks, indicating a shift in the timing of peak incidence year-to-year. All climatic variables showed modest seasonality and correlated weakly with the number of reported dengue cases across a range of time lags. Cases were reduced after citywide insecticide fumigation if conducted early in the transmission season.Dengue case counts peaked seasonally despite limited intra-annual variation in climate conditions. Contrary to expectations for this mosquito-borne disease, no climatic variable considered exhibited a strong relationship with transmission. Vector control operations did, however, appear to have a significant impact on transmission some years. Our results indicate that a complicated interplay of factors underlie DENV transmission in contexts such as Iquitos.
Project description:Dengue virus host factors (DENV HFs) that are essential for the completion of the infection cycle in the mosquito vector and vertebrate host represent potent targets for transmission blocking. Here we investigated whether known mammalian DENV HF inhibitors could influence virus infection in the arthropod vector A. aegypti. We evaluated the potency of bafilomycin (BAF; inhibitor of vacuolar H+-ATPase (vATPase)), mycophenolic acid (MPA; inhibitor of inosine-5'-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH)), castanospermine (CAS; inhibitor of glucosidase), and deoxynojirimycin (DNJ; inhibitor of glucosidase) in blocking DENV infection of the mosquito midgut, using various treatment methods that included direct injection, ingestion by sugar feeding or blood feeding, and silencing of target genes by RNA interference (RNAi). Injection of BAF (5 µM) and MPA (25 µM) prior to feeding on virus-infected blood inhibited DENV titers in the midgut at 7 days post-infection by 56% and 60%, and in the salivary gland at 14 days post-infection by 90% and 83%, respectively, while treatment of mosquitoes with CAS or DNJ did not affect susceptibility to the virus. Ingestion of BAF and MPA through a sugar meal or together with an infectious blood meal also resulted in various degrees of virus inhibition. RNAi-mediated silencing of several vATPase subunit genes and the IMPDH gene resulted in a reduced DENV infection, thereby indicating that BAF- and MPA-mediated virus inhibition in adult mosquitoes most likely occurred through the inhibition of these DENV HFs. The route and timing of BAF and MPA administration was essential, and treatment after exposure to the virus diminished the antiviral effect of these compounds. Here we provide proof-of-principle that chemical inhibition or RNAi-mediated depletion of the DENV HFs vATPase and IMPDH can be used to suppress DENV infection of adult A. aegypti mosquitoes, which may translate to a reduction in DENV transmission.
Project description:Dengue is one of the most geographically significant mosquito-borne viral diseases transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. During blood feeding, mosquitoes deposit salivary proteins that induce antibody responses. These can be related to the intensity of exposure to bites. Some mosquito salivary proteins, such as D7 proteins, are known as potent allergens. The antibody response to D7 proteins can be used as a marker to evaluate the risk of exposure and disease transmission and provide critical information for understanding the dynamics of vector-host interactions.The study was conducted at the Los Patios Hospital, Cucuta, Norte de Santander, Colombia. A total of 63 participants were enrolled in the study. Participants were categorized into three disease status groups, age groups, and socioeconomic strata. The level of IgG antibodies against D7 Aedes proteins was determined by ELISA. We used a statistical approach to determine if there is an association between antibody levels and factors such as age, living conditions, and dengue virus (DENV) infection.We found that IgG antibodies against D7 proteins were higher in non-DENV infected individuals in comparison to DENV-infected participants. Also, the age factor showed a significant positive correlation with IgG antibodies against D7 proteins, and the living conditions (socioeconomic stratification), in people aged 20 years or older, are a statistically significant factor in the variability of IgG antibodies against D7 proteins.This pilot study represents the first approximation to elucidate any correlation between the antibody response against mosquito D7 salivary proteins and its correlation with age, living conditions, and DENV infection in a dengue endemic area.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The mosquito Aedes albopictus is an important vector for dengue virus (DENV) transmission. The midgut is the first barrier to mosquito infection by DENV, and this barrier is a critical factor affecting the vector competence of the mosquito. However, the molecular mechanism of the interaction between midgut and virus is unknown. RESULTS:Six small libraries of Ae. albopictus midgut RNAs were constructed, three of which from mosquitoes that were infected with DENV-2 after feeding on infected blood, and another three that remained uninfected with DENV-2 after feeding on same batch of infected blood. A total of 46 differentially expressed miRNAs were identified of which 17 significant differentially expressed miRNAs were selected. Compared to microRNA expression profiles of mosquitoes that were uninfected with DENV-2, 15 microRNAs were upregulated and two were downregulated in mosquitoes that were infected with DENV-2. Among these differentially expressed microRNAs, miR-1767, miR-276-3p, miR-4448 and miR-622 were verified by stem-loop qRT-PCR in samples from seven-day-infected and uninfected midguts and chosen for an in vitro transient transfection assay. miR-1767 and miR-276-3p enhanced dengue virus replication in C6/36 cells, and miR-4448 reduced dengue virus replication. CONCLUSIONS:To our knowledge, this study is the first to reveal differences in expression levels between mosquitoes infected and uninfected with DENV-2 after feeding on an infected blood meal. It provides useful information on microRNAs expressed in the midgut of Aedes albopictus after exposure to the virus.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is an arbovirus responsible for a significant number of deaths in Latin America. This virus is transmitted through the bite of Aedes aegypti, the main mosquito vector, and Ae. albopictus. During blood uptake, the mosquito injects its saliva into the host to facilitate the feeding process. Mosquito saliva contains potent immunogens capable of inducing antibody production directly related to mosquito bite exposure intensity and disease risk. In this study, we first determined the DENV infection status by two different DENV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) based rapid tests and qRT-PCR, then measured the levels of IgG1 and IgG4 antibodies against salivary proteins of Ae. aegypti female mosquitoes in volunteers living in a dengue endemic area. Our results show that people with a positive DENV diagnosis present higher levels of IgG4 antibodies than people with a negative diagnostic test, and that these antibody levels were higher in people with secondary DENV infections. With this study, we show that detection of IgG4 antibodies against mosquito saliva may be a reliable method to evaluate the risk of dengue infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Anopheles gambiae is a major vector of malaria and lymphatic filariasis. The arthropod-host interactions occurring at the skin interface are complex and dynamic. We used a global approach to describe the interaction between the mosquito (infected or uninfected) and the skin of mammals during blood feeding. METHODS: Intravital video microscopy was used to characterize several features during blood feeding. The deposition and movement of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites in the dermis were also observed. We also used histological techniques to analyze the impact of infected and uninfected feedings on the skin cell response in naive mice. RESULTS: The mouthparts were highly mobile within the skin during the probing phase. Probing time increased with mosquito age, with possible effects on pathogen transmission. Repletion was achieved by capillary feeding. The presence of sporozoites in the salivary glands modified the behavior of the mosquitoes, with infected females tending to probe more than uninfected females (86% versus 44%). A white area around the tip of the proboscis was observed when the mosquitoes fed on blood from the vessels of mice immunized with saliva. Mosquito feedings elicited an acute inflammatory response in naive mice that peaked three hours after the bite. Polynuclear and mast cells were associated with saliva deposits. We describe the first visualization of saliva in the skin by immunohistochemistry (IHC) with antibodies directed against saliva. Both saliva deposits and sporozoites were detected in the skin for up to 18 h after the bite. CONCLUSION: This study, in which we visualized the probing and engorgement phases of Anopheles gambiae blood meals, provides precise information about the behavior of the insect as a function of its infection status and the presence or absence of anti-saliva antibodies. It also provides insight into the possible consequences of the inflammatory reaction for blood feeding and pathogen transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Knowledge of spatial patterns of dengue virus (DENV) infection is important for understanding transmission dynamics and guiding effective disease prevention strategies. Because movement of infected humans and mosquito vectors plays a role in the spread and persistence of virus, spatial dimensions of transmission can range from small household foci to large community clusters. Current understanding is limited because past analyses emphasized clinically apparent illness and did not account for the potentially large proportion of inapparent infections. In this study we analyzed both clinically apparent and overall infections to determine the extent of clustering among human DENV infections. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted spatial analyses at global and local scales, using acute case and seroconversion data from a prospective longitudinal cohort in Iquitos, Peru, from 1999-2003. Our study began during a period of interepidemic DENV-1 and DENV-2 transmission and transitioned to epidemic DENV-3 transmission. Infection status was determined by seroconversion based on plaque neutralization testing of sequential blood samples taken at approximately six-month intervals, with date of infection assigned as the middate between paired samples. Each year was divided into three distinct seasonal periods of DENV transmission. Spatial heterogeneity was detected in baseline seroprevalence for DENV-1 and DENV-2. Cumulative DENV-3 seroprevalence calculated by trimester from 2001-2003 was spatially similar to preexisting DENV-1 and DENV-2 seroprevalence. Global clustering (case-control Ripley's K statistic) appeared at radii of ?200-800 m. Local analyses (Kuldorf spatial scan statistic) identified eight DENV-1 and 15 DENV-3 clusters from 1999-2003. The number of seroconversions per cluster ranged from 3-34 with radii from zero (a single household) to 750 m; 65% of clusters had radii >100 m. No clustering was detected among clinically apparent infections. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Seroprevalence of previously circulating DENV serotypes can be a predictor of transmission risk for a different invading serotype and, thus, identify targets for strategically placed surveillance and intervention. Seroprevalence of a specific serotype is also important, but does not preclude other contributing factors, such as mosquito density, in determining where transmission of that virus will occur. Regardless of the epidemiological context or virus serotype, human movement appears to be an important factor in defining the spatial dimensions of DENV transmission and, thus, should be considered in the design and evaluation of surveillance and intervention strategies.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes significant human disease and mortality in the tropics and subtropics. By examining the effects of virus infection on gene expression, and interactions between virus and vector, new targets for prevention of infection and novel treatments may be identified in mosquitoes. We previously performed a microarray analysis of the Aedes aegypti transcriptome during infection with DENV and found that mosquito ubiquitin protein Ub3881 (AAEL003881) was specifically and highly down-regulated. Ubiquitin proteins have multiple functions in insects, including marking proteins for proteasomal degradation, regulating apoptosis and mediating innate immune signaling.We used qRT-PCR to quantify gene expression and infection, and RNAi to reduce Ub3881 expression. Mosquitoes were infected with DENV through blood feeding. We transfected DENV protein expression constructs to examine the effect of Ub3881 on protein degradation. We used site-directed mutagenesis and transfection to determine what amino acids are involved in Ub3881-mediated protein degradation. Immunofluorescence, Co-immunoprecipitation and Western blotting were used to examine protein interactions and co-localization.The overexpression of Ub3881, but not related ubiquitin proteins, decreased DENV infection in mosquito cells and live Ae. aegypti. The Ub3881 protein was demonstrated to be involved in DENV envelope protein degradation and reduce the number of infectious virions released.We conclude that Ub3881 has several antiviral functions in the mosquito, including specific viral protein degradation.Our data highlights Ub3881 as a target for future DENV prevention strategies in the mosquito transmission vector.