Generation of a lineage II powassan virus (deer tick virus) cdna clone: Assessment of flaviviral genetic determinants of tick and mosquito vector competence

Joan L. Kenney, Michael Anishchenko, Meghan Hermance, Hannah Romo, Ching I. Chen, Saravanan Thangamani, Aaron C. Brault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Flavivirus genus comprises a diverse group of viruses that utilize a wide range of vertebrate hosts and arthropod vectors. The genus includes viruses that are transmitted solely by mosquitoes or vertebrate hosts as well as viruses that alternate transmission between mosquitoes or ticks and vertebrates. Nevertheless, the viral genetic determinants that dictate these unique flaviviral host and vector specificities have been poorly characterized. In this report, a cDNA clone of a flavivirus that is transmitted between ticks and vertebrates (Powassan lineage II, deer tick virus [DTV]) was generated and chimeric viruses between the mosquito/vertebrate flavivirus, West Nile virus (WNV), were constructed. These chimeric viruses expressed the prM and E genes of either WNV or DTV in the heterologous nonstructural (NS) backbone. Recombinant chimeric viruses rescued from cDNAs were characterized for their capacity to grow in vertebrate and arthropod (mosquito and tick) cells as well as for in vivo vector competence in mosquitoes and ticks. Results demonstrated that the NS elements were insufficient to impart the complete mosquito or tick growth phenotypes of parental viruses; however, these NS genetic elements did contribute to a 100-and 100,000-fold increase in viral growth in vitro in tick and mosquito cells, respectively. Mosquito competence was observed only with parental WNV, while infection and transmission potential by ticks were observed with both DTV and WNV-prME/DTV chimeric viruses. These data indicate that NS genetic elements play a significant, but not exclusive, role for vector usage of mosquito-and tick-borne flaviviruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume18
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Deer tick virus
  • Mosquito-borne flavivirus
  • Powassan virus
  • Tick-borne flavivirus
  • Vector competence
  • West nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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