Four monoclonal antibody-resistant variants (MARVs) of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus were used to study mosquito-virus interactions. In vitro experiments using an Aedes albopictus cell line, C6/36, demonstrated that an amino acid change in the glycoprotein E2(h) epitope (MARV 1A3B-7) decreased virus growth when compared with the wild-type, Trinidad donkey virus, and its vaccine derivative, TC-83. The MARVs replicated as efficiently as the parent virus when inoculated into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, but MARV 1A3B-7 was restricted in its ability to infect and disseminate from the midgut following oral infection. These results demonstrate that a single amino acid change in the E2 glycoprotein can affect the ability of VEE virus to replicate and disseminate in Ae. aegypti mosquitoes.
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