St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) has shown greater susceptibility to oral infectivity than West Nile virus (WNV) in Culex mosquitoes. To identify the viral genetic elements that modulate these disparate phenotypes, structural chimeras (WNV-pre-membrane [prM] and envelope [E] proteins [prME]/SLEV.IC (infectious clone) and SLEV-prME/ WNV.IC) were constructed in which two of the structural proteins, the prM and E, were interchanged between viruses. Oral dose-response assessment with the chimeric/parental WNV and SLEV was performed to characterize the infection phenotypes in Culex mosquitoes by artificial blood meals. The median infectious dose required to infect 50% of Cx. quinquefasciatus with WNV was indistinguishable from that of the SLEV-prME/WNV.IC chimeric virus. Similarly, SLEV and WNV-prME/SLEV.IC virus exhibited an indistinguishable oral dose-response relationship in Cx. quinquefasciatus. Infection rates forWNV.IC and SLEV-prME/WNV.IC were significantly lower than SLEV.IC and WNV-prME/SLEV.IC infection rates. These results indicated that WNV and SLEV oral infectivities are not mediated by genetic differences within the prM and E proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases