Battle of the Viruses: Aripo Virus Induced Superinfection Exclusion of Mosquito-borne Viruses

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Virginia Tech


Flaviviruses are a single-stranded, positive sense, RNA virus that affect around 400 million people annually. Flaviviruses are transmitted by arthropod vectors, the most common vector being the mosquito. Currently, many mosquito control strategies are in use, these control strategies are diverse in both efficiency and cost. However, developing new vector control strategies is becoming increasingly important, due to climate changing affecting vector population distribution and the current limitations conventional control strategies face. Although many different control strategies exist, there is limited research pertaining to reducing viral infection in the vector. Reducing the transmission capabilities of vectors could help relieve the disease burden felt around the world. Aripo virus (ARPV), an insect-specific flavivirus, has ushered in opportunities to discover a novel approach to arbovirus control. The exclusionary effects of ARPV were explored as a means to eventually understanding superinfection exclusion (SIE) and utilizing it as a calculated defense against mosquito-borne disease. Aripo virus was evaluated for its SIE potential in vitro and experiments were performed to explore the possible mechanisms underlying SIE. Aripo virus showed significant exclusion against the flaviviruses tested, as well as an alphavirus. Additionally, West Nile virus was unable to adapt and overcome SIE barriers over 9 serial passages. Lastly, ARPV was superinfected with chimeric viruses to asses replication kinetics, and possible exclusionary bias was seen with non-structural genes. These data show ARPV is capable of reducing viral titer, as well as possible leads into understanding the underlying mechanism of SIE, a critical step in utilizing SIE as a strategy to combat vector-borne disease.



Mosquito-borne disease