Track: 14/24, Virome & Immunity in Culex pipiens
prof.dr. Ronald van Rij
dr. Pascal Miesen
dr.ir. Gorben Pijlman, dr. Sander Koenraadt
Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
The Virome & Immunity in Culex pipiens PhD project fulfills three goals within the consortium:
Presently, we are interested to know how prevalent WNV and USUV are in the Netherlands, sampling both birds and mosquitoes in the same location in order to relate the data to each other. The mosquito species will be determined in Wageningen and samples will be analysed for WNV and USUV presence for this project in Nijmegen (Objective 1).
Arboviruses have to replicate sufficiently in the mosquito host in order to be transmissible through a mosquito bite. The nature of the interaction of the virus with the anti-viral immune response impacts whether the virus is tolerated in the mosquito (and efficiently replicates) or whether the virus is cleared. Vector competence is therefore strongly affected by the anti-viral immune response, although little is known about this response in Culex mosquito species. Apart from arboviruses, mosquitoes are infected with insect-specific viruses, forming the mosquito virome. Similar to arboviruses, these insect-specific viruses interact with the immune response and their presence is thought to affect vector competence of arboviruses. Within this project we therefore aim to increase the understanding of the Culex pipiens immune response (Objective 3) and characterize the virome (Objective 2).
3) Potentially employ natural Culex pipiens viruses as an intervention mechanism restricting arboviral transmission.
In the mosquito species Aedes Aegypti, the presence of the Wolbachia bacterium restricts the vector competence of the mosquito for DENV. Similarly, it is possible that insect-specific viruses in the virome of Culex pipiens mosquitoes restrict vector competence to relevant arboviruses. Insect-specific viruses in the Dutch Culex pipiens virome will therefore be isolated and tested for the restriction of arboviral vector competence (Objective 2b).
Research questions / objectives
Paper 1: The Culex transcriptome of the Toll, IMD & JAK-STAT immune signalling pathways
Paper 2: A role for the Toll/IMD/JAK-STAT pathway in the immune response of Culex pipiens to WNV and USUV
Paper 3: Novel Culex pipiens insect-specific virus restricts WNV infection