Global transcriptome analysis of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in response to Zika virus infection

Kayvan Etebari, Shivanand Hegde, Miguel A. Saldaña, Steven G. Widen, Thomas Wood, Sassan Asgari, Grant Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zika virus (ZIKV) of the Flaviviridae family is a recently emerged mosquito-borne virus that has been implicated in the surge of the number of microcephaly instances in South America. The recent rapid spread of the virus led to its declaration as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. The virus is transmitted mainly by the mosquito Aedes aegypti that also vectors dengue virus, however little is known about the interactions of the virus with the mosquito vector. In this study, we investigated the transcriptome profiles of whole Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in response to ZIKV infection at 2, 7, and 14 days post-infection using RNA-Seq. Results showed changes in the abundance of a large number of transcripts at each time point following infection, with 18 transcripts commonly changed among the three time points. Gene ontology analysis revealed that most of the altered genes are involved in metabolic process, cellular process and proteolysis. In addition, 486 long intergenic non-coding RNAs were identified that were altered upon ZIKV infection. Further, we found correlational changes of a number of potential mRNA target genes with that of altered host microRNAs. The outcomes provide a basic understanding of Ae. aegypti responses to ZIKV and helps to determine host factors involved in replication or mosquito host anti-viral response against the virus. Importance Vector-borne viruses pose great risks on human health. Zika virus has recently emerged as a global threat, rapidly expanding its distribution. Understanding the interactions of the virus with mosquito vectors at the molecular level is vital for devising new approaches in inhibiting virus transmission. In this study, we embarked on analyzing the transcriptional response of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to Zika virus infection. Results showed large changes both in coding and long non-coding RNAs. Analysis of these genes showed similarities with other flaviviruses, including dengue virus, which is transmitted by the same mosquito vector. The outcomes provide a global picture of changes in the mosquito vector in response to Zika virus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Aug 22 2017


  • Aedes aegypti
  • behavior
  • long non-coding RNA
  • microRNA
  • odorant binding protein
  • RNA-Seq
  • transcriptome
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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