The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Insect-specific viruses detected in laboratory mosquito colonies and their potential implications for experiments evaluating arbovirus vector competence.

PMID 25510714


Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the detection and characterization of insect-specific viruses in field-collected mosquitoes. Evidence suggests that these viruses are ubiquitous in nature and that many are maintained by vertical transmission in mosquito populations. Some studies suggest that the presence of insect-specific viruses may inhibit replication of a super-infecting arbovirus, thus altering vector competence of the mosquito host. Accordingly, we screened our laboratory mosquito colonies for insect-specific viruses. Pools of colony mosquitoes were homogenized and inoculated into cultures of Aedes albopictus (C6/36) cells. The infected cells were examined by electron microscopy and deep sequencing was performed on RNA extracts. Electron micrograph images indicated the presence of three different viruses in three of our laboratory mosquito colonies. Potential implications of these findings for vector competence studies are discussed.