Clustered rapid induction of apoptosis limits ZIKV and DENV-2 proliferation in the midguts of Aedes aegypti

Jasmine B. Ayers, Heather G. Coatsworth, Seokyoung Kang, Rhoel R. Dinglasan* & Lei Zhou* (*co-corresponding authors)

January 15, 2021

Clustered rapid induction of apoptosis limits ZIKV and DENV-2 proliferation in the midguts of Aedes aegypti

Jasmine's 1st first-author paper (Yay Jasmine!) that dissects very early innate immune defense mechanisms of mosquito vectors following infection with flaviviruses.

Inter-host transmission of pathogenic arboviruses such as dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) requires systemic infection of the mosquito vector. Successful systemic infection requires initial viral entry and proliferation in the midgut cells of the mosquito followed by dissemination to secondary tissues and eventual entry into salivary glands. Lack of arbovirus proliferation in midgut cells has been observed in several Aedes aegypti strains, but the midgut antiviral responses underlying this phenomenon are not yet fully understood. We report here that there is a rapid induction of apoptosis (RIA) in the Aedes aegypti midgut epithelium within 2 hours of infection with DENV-2 or ZIKV in both in vivo blood-feeding and ex vivo midgut infection models. Inhibition of RIA led to increased virus proliferation in the midgut, implicating RIA as an innate immune mechanism mediating midgut infection in this mosquito vector.

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