Infection patterns of o’nyong nyong virus in the malaria‐transmitting mosquito, Anopheles gambiae
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Arthropod-borne alphaviruses transmitted by mosquitoes almost exclusively use culicines; however, the alphavirus o'nyong-nyong (ONNV) has the unusual characteristic of being transmitted primarily by anopheline mosquitoes. This unusual attribute makes ONNV a valuable tool in the characterization of mosquito determinants of infection as well as a useful expression system in Anopheles species. We developed a series of recombinant alphaviruses, based upon the genome of ONNV, designed for the expression of heterologous genes. The backbone genome is a full-length infectious cDNA clone of ONNV from which wild-type virus can be rescued. Additional constructs are variants of the primary clone and contain the complete genome plus a duplicated subgenomic promoter element with a multiple cloning site for insertion of heterologous genes. We inserted a green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene downstream of this promoter and used it to characterize infection and dissemination patterns of ONNV within An. gambiae mosquitoes. These experiments allowed us to identify atypical sites of initial infection and dissemination patterns in this mosquito species not frequently observed in comparable culicine infections. The utility of these ONNVs for studies in anopheline mosquitoes includes the potential for identification of vector infection determinants and to serve as tools for antimalaria studies. Viruses that can express a heterologous gene in a vector and rapidly and efficiently infect numerous tissues in An. gambiae mosquitoes will be a valuable asset in parasite-mosquito interaction and interference research.
author list (cited authors)
Brault, A. C., Foy, B. D., Myles, K. M., Kelly, C., Higgs, S., Weaver, S. C., ... Powers, A. M.