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mosquito-borne - Top 30 Publications

Mosquito oviposition deterrents.

Mosquitoes are well-known vectors of disease and threaten the health of millions of people annually. While synthetic insecticides have been relied on to combat these diseases, insecticide resistance and environmental concerns have directed attention towards novel and more targeted mosquitocides derived from botanicals. Research on the activity of botanical derivatives has focused on mosquito larvae and adults with little attention given to their potential as oviposition deterrents against gravid female mosquitoes. This review explores the influence of chemical and biological factors on deterrence and examines issues relating to environmental persistence and non-target effects. With very few discoveries of new insecticide pathways, the answer to effective mosquito control may well reside within other ancient plant-based organisms that have co-resided and evolved with this ubiquitous pest.

Coordination of different complexes to copper(II) and cobalt(III) metal centers enhances Zika virus and dengue virus loads in both arthropod cells and human keratinocytes.

Trace elements such as copper and cobalt have been associated with virus-host interactions. However, studies to show the effect of conjugation of copper(II) or cobalt(III) metal centers to thiosemicarbazone ligand(s) derived from either food additives or mosquito repellent such as 2-acetylethiazole or citral, respectively, on Zika virus (ZIKV) or dengue virus (serotype 2; DENV2) infections have not been explored. In this study, we show that four compounds comprising of thiosemicarbazone ligand derived from 2-acetylethiazole viz., (E)-N-ethyl-2-[1-(thiazol-2-yl)ethylidene]hydrazinecarbothioamide (acetylethTSC) (compound 1), a copper(II) complex with acetylethTSC as a ligand (compound 2), a thiosemicarbazone ligand-derived from citral (compound 3) and a cobalt(III) complex with a citral-thiosemicarbazone ligand- (compound 4) increased DENV2 and ZIKV replication in both mosquito C6/36 cells and human keratinocytes (HaCaT cells). Treatment of both cell lines with compounds 2 or 4 showed increased dengue viral titers at all three tested doses. Enhanced dengue viral plaque formation was also noted at the tested dose of 100μM, suggesting higher production of infectious viral particles. Treatment with the compounds 2 or 4 enhanced ZIKV and DENV2 RNA levels in HeLa cell line and primary cultures of mouse bone marrow derived dendritic cells. Also, pre- or post treatments with conjugated compound 2 or 4 showed higher loads of ZIKV or DENV2 envelope (E) protein in HaCaT cells. No changes in loads of E-protein were found in ZIKV-infected C6/36 cells, when compounds were treated after infection. In addition, we tested bis(1,10-phenanthroline)copper(II) chloride ([Cu(phen)2]Cl2, (compound 5) and tris(1,10-phenanthroline)cobalt(III) chloride ([Co(phen)3]Cl3, (compound 6) that also showed enhanced DENV2 loads. Also, we found that copper(II) chloride dehydrate (CuCl2·2H2O) or cobalt(II) chloride hexahydrate (CoCl2·6H2O) alone had no effects as "free" cations. Taken together, these findings suggest that use of Cu(II) or Co(III) conjugation to organic compounds, in insect repellents and/or food additives could enhance DENV2/ZIKV loads in human cells and perhaps induce pathogenesis in infected individuals or individuals pre-exposed to such conjugated complexes.

Disappearance of Anopheles minimus and Anopheles dirus from Certain Malaria Endemic Areas of Assam, India.

Orang Primary Health Centre (OPHC) and Balipara Primary Health Centre (BPHC) of Assam (India) report mosquito borne diseases annually. Current study was performed to ascertain the prevalence of known malaria and Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vectors and their possible role in disease transmission.

Neurological Complications in a Polynesian Traveler with Dengue.

In recent times, there has been an increased focus on mosquito-borne Flaviviruses, in particular dengue and Zika. With the reappearance of dengue in Hawai'i and the mainland United States (US), clinicians should be aware of both the common presentations of dengue, as well as other less common complications associated with the disease. Dengue can result in neurologic disorders such as encephalopathy, encephalitis, immune-mediated syndromes, neuromuscular dysfunction, and neuro-ophthalmologic disorders. We present an interesting case of dengue that initially presented with classic symptoms (arthropathy, biphasic fever, and rash) and subsequently developed into a neurologic movement disorder with muscle tightening and twitching of the face, chest, and extremities. We review and update the epidemiology, biology, the clinical presentations including the neurologic complications associated with dengue, as well as their management and areas of future study in this field.

Characterization of Three New Insect-Specific Flaviviruses: Their Relationship to the Mosquito-Borne Flavivirus Pathogens.

Three novel insect-specific flaviviruses, isolated from mosquitoes collected in Peru, Malaysia (Sarawak), and the United States, are characterized. The new viruses, designated La Tina, Kampung Karu, and Long Pine Key, respectively, are antigenically and phylogenetically more similar to the mosquito-borne flavivirus pathogens, than to the classical insect-specific viruses like cell fusing agent and Culex flavivirus. The potential implications of this relationship and the possible uses of these and other arbovirus-related insect-specific flaviviruses are reviewed.

Enzootic Circulation of Chikungunya Virus in East Africa: Serological Evidence in Nonhuman Kenyan Primates.

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a globally emerging pathogen causing debilitating arthralgia and fever in humans. First identified in Tanzania (1953), this mosquito-borne alphavirus received little further attention until a 2004 re-emergence in Kenya from an unknown source. This outbreak subsequently spread to the Indian Ocean, with adaptation for transmission by a new urban vector. Under the hypothesis that sylvatic progenitor cycles of CHIKV exist in Kenya (as reported in West Africa, between nonhuman primates (NHPs) and arboreal Aedes spp. mosquitoes), we pursued evidence of enzootic transmission and human spillover events. We initially screened 252 archived NHP sera from Kenya using plaque reduction neutralization tests. Given an overall CHIKV seroprevalence of 13.1% (marginally higher in western Kenya), we sought more recent NHP samples during 2014 from sites in Kakamega County, sampling wild blue monkeys, olive baboons, and red-tailed monkeys (N = 33). We also sampled 34 yellow baboons near Kwale, coastal Kenya. Overall, CHIKV seropositivity in 2014 was 13.4% (9/67). Antibodies reactive against closely related o'nyong-nyong virus (ONNV) occurred; however, neutralization titers were too low to conclude ONNV exposure. Seroprevalence for the flavivirus dengue was also detected (28%), mostly near Kwale, suggesting possible spillback from humans to baboons. CHIKV antibodies in some juvenile and subadult NHPs suggested recent circulation. We conclude that CHIKV is circulating in western Kenya, despite the 2004 human outbreaks only being reported coastally. Further work to understand the enzootic ecology of CHIKV in east Africa is needed to identify sites of human spillover contact where urban transmission may be initiated.

Pathogenesis and sexual transmission of Spondweni and Zika viruses.

The Spondweni serogroup of viruses (Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) is comprised of Spondweni virus (SPONV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), which are mosquito-borne viruses capable of eliciting human disease. Numerous cases of ZIKV sexual transmission in humans have been documented following the emergence of the Asian genotype in the Americas. The African ZIKV genotype virus was previously implicated in the first reported case of ZIKV sexual transmission. Reports of SPONV infection in humans have been associated with non-specific febrile illness, but no association with sexual transmission has been reported. In order to assess the relative efficiency of sexual transmission of different ZIKV strains and the potential capacity of SPONV to be sexually transmitted, viral loads in the male reproductive tract and in seminal fluids were assessed in interferon α/β and -γ receptor deficient (AG129) mice. Male mice were inoculated subcutaneously with Asian genotype ZIKV strains PRVABC59 (Puerto Rico, 2015), FSS13025 (Cambodia, 2010), or P6-740 (Malaysia, 1966); African genotype ZIKV strain DakAr41524 (Senegal, 1984); or SPONV strain SAAr94 (South Africa, 1955). Infectious virus was detected in 60-72% of ejaculates collected from AG129 mice inoculated with ZIKV strains. In contrast, only 4% of ejaculates from SPONV-inoculated AG129 males were found to contain infectious virus, despite viral titers in the testes that were comparable to those of ZIKV-inoculated mice. Based on these results, future studies should be undertaken to assess the role of viral genetic determinants and host tropism that dictate the differential sexual transmission potential of ZIKV and SPONV.

Development and evaluation of one-step multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection of Zika virus and Chikungunya virus.

Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) are important human pathogens and mosquito-borne arboviruses, which have resembling history, common vectors, circulating regions, and indistinguishable clinical symptoms. Wide geographical range that is suitable for ZIKV and CHIKV transmission underlines the concern about the impact of epidemic and endemic infections on burden of public health. In the present study, a highly sensitive and specific one-step multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay was developed and evaluated for simultaneous detection and quantification of ZIKV and CHIKV. The single reaction assay employs two pairs of primers and two TaqMan probes that differentiate ZIKV and CHIKV infections. The entire viral genomic RNA in vitro transcribed from full-length infectious clones were used to generate the standard curves for absolute quantification in subsequent tests. The detection limit of the one-step multiplex assay was 1 and 0.5 PFU for infectious ZIKV and CHIKV, respectively. The assessment of specificity indicated this assay is highly specific to targeted viruses showing no amplification of a variety of other flaviviruses. Our assay was able to detect geographically separated and phylogenetically diverse strains of ZIKV and CHIKV. On the applicability of monitoring viral multiplication in cells and testing clinical samples, the one-step multiplex assay provided efficient and accurate determination. The one-step multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay offers a valuable tool for detection of ZIKV and CHIKV and potentially contributes to general surveillance and clinical treatment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Mammal decline, linked to invasive Burmese python, shifts host use of vector mosquito towards reservoir hosts of a zoonotic disease.

Invasive apex predators have profound impacts on natural communities, yet the consequences of these impacts on the transmission of zoonotic pathogens are unexplored. Collapse of large- and medium-sized mammal populations in the Florida Everglades has been linked to the invasive Burmese python, Python bivittatus Kuhl. We used historic and current data to investigate potential impacts of these community effects on contact between the reservoir hosts (certain rodents) and vectors of Everglades virus, a zoonotic mosquito-borne pathogen that circulates in southern Florida. The percentage of blood meals taken from the primary reservoir host, the hispid cotton rat, Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord, increased dramatically (422.2%) from 1979 (14.7%) to 2016 (76.8%), while blood meals from deer, raccoons and opossums decreased by 98.2%, reflecting precipitous declines in relative abundance of these larger mammals, attributed to python predation. Overall species diversity of hosts detected in Culex cedecei blood meals from the Everglades declined by 40.2% over the same period (H(1979) = 1.68, H(2016) = 1.01). Predictions based upon the dilution effect theory suggest that increased relative feedings upon reservoir hosts translate into increased abundance of infectious vectors, and a corresponding upsurge of Everglades virus occurrence and risk of human exposure, although this was not tested in the current study. This work constitutes the first indication that an invasive predator can increase contact between vectors and reservoirs of a human pathogen and highlights unrecognized indirect impacts of invasive predators.

Effectiveness of a fluid chart in outpatient management of suspected dengue fever: A pilot study.

Dengue infection is the fastest spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. One of the complications of dengue is dehydration which, if not carefully monitored and treated, may lead to shock, particularly in those with dengue haemorrhagic fever. WHO has recommended oral fluid intake of five glasses or more for adults who are suspected to have dengue fever. However, there have been no published studies looking at self-care intervention measures to improve oral fluid intake among patients suspected of dengue fever.

Pathogens in ectoparasites from free-ranging animals: Infection with Rickettsia asembonensis in ticks, and a potentially new species of Dipylidium in fleas and lice.

Vector-borne infections are persistent public health threats worldwide. In recent years, a number of mosquito-borne viruses have emerged or re-emerged to cause major disease outbreaks. Other vector-borne pathogens, however, remain understudied and much neglected especially in the developing regions of the world including Southeast Asia. In this study, the brown dog tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato, cat louse Felicola subrostratus, and cat fleas Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides orientis collected from free-ranging cats and dogs in Malaysia were molecularly screened for the presence of Bartonella and Rickettsia bacteria, and Dipylidium tapeworm. Our results showed the presence of Bartonella clarridgeiea, Bartonella henselae (lineage Marseille and lineage Houston-1), and Rickettsia sp. in C. felis. We also detected Rickettsia asembonensis in C. orientis and R. sanguineus s.l. Additionally, this study provides the first documentation on a potentially new species of Dipylidium infecting F. subrostratus and C. felis. Our results highlight the role of ectoparasites from free-ranging animals including cats and dogs, in harboring multiple transmissible pathogens.

West Nile virus in overwintering mosquitoes, central Europe.

West Nile virus (WNV) is currently the most important mosquito-borne pathogen spreading in Europe. Data on overwintering of WNV in mosquitoes are crucial for understanding WNV circulation in Europe; nonetheless, such data were not available so far.

Zika Virus: What Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physicians Need to Know.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus. It has emerged as an important infectious agent in the recent past, mainly because of its teratogenic effects on the fetus. This review highlights the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this emerging infection.

Nine year trends of dengue virus infection in Mumbai, Western India.

Dengue virus (DENV) causes a wide range of diseases in humans, from acute febrile illness Dengue fever (DF) to life-threatening Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) or Dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Factors believed to be responsible for spread of Dengue virus infection include explosive population growth, unplanned urban overpopulation with inadequate public health systems, poor standing water and vector control, climate changes and increased international recreational, business, military travel to endemic areas. All of these factors must be addressed to control the spread of Dengue and other mosquito-borne infections. The detection of Dengue virus RNA by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) in human serum or plasma samples is highly indicative of acute Dengue fever. Moreover, the method is able to identify the Dengue virus serotype by demonstrating defined sequence homologies in the viral genomic RNA.

Progress in Zika virus and its vaccines.

Like Yellow fever virus, Dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and West Nile virus, Zika virus is also a mosquito-borne flavivirus. Since it was isolated in 1947, there has been little concern over Zika virus due to its limited distribution and mild symptoms. In recent years, especially since 2015, Zika virus has become a global concern because of its outbreak in Brazil and associated microcephaly. Vaccines against Zika virus, regarded as the effective measures to control Zika fever epidemic, are being developed in nearly thirty institutions worldwide. In this paper, biology, epidemiology and clinical features of Zika virus were reviewed along with current research and development of different types of Zika vaccines. In addition, several other flavivirus vaccines approved or in clinical trials were briefly introduced, to provide valuable reference for Zika vaccines researchers.

Recent Perspectives on Genome, Transmission, Clinical Manifestation, Diagnosis, Therapeutic Strategies, Vaccine Developments, and Challenges of Zika Virus Research.

One of the potential threats to public health microbiology in 21st century is the increased mortality rate caused by Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus. The severity of ZIKV infection urged World Health Organization (WHO) to declare this virus as a global concern. The limited knowledge on the structure, virulent factors, and replication mechanism of the virus posed as hindrance for vaccine development. Several vector and non-vector-borne mode of transmission are observed for spreading the disease. The similarities of the virus with other flaviviruses such as dengue and West Nile virus are worrisome; hence, there is high scope to undertake ZIKV research that probably provide insight for novel therapeutic intervention. Thus, this review focuses on the recent aspect of ZIKV research which includes the outbreak, genome structure, multiplication and propagation of the virus, current animal models, clinical manifestations, available treatment options (probable vaccines and therapeutics), and the recent advancements in computational drug discovery pipelines, challenges and limitation to undertake ZIKV research. The review suggests that the infection due to ZIKV became one of the universal concerns and an interdisciplinary environment of in vitro cellular assays, genomics, proteomics, and computational biology approaches probably contribute insights for screening of novel molecular targets for drug design. The review tried to provide cutting edge knowledge in ZIKV research with future insights required for the development of novel therapeutic remedies to curtail ZIKV infection.

Cacipacore virus as an emergent mosquito-borne Flavivirus.

Cacipacore virus (CPCV), a possible bird-associated flavivirus, has yet to be detected in mosquitoes. Our purpose is examining CPCV in mosquitoes from the Amazon region of Brazil.

A lethal model of disseminated dengue virus type 1 infection in AG129 mice.

The mosquito-borne disease dengue is caused by four serologically and genetically related flaviviruses termed DENV-1 to DENV-4. Dengue is a global public health concern, with both the geographical range and burden of disease increasing rapidly. Clinically, dengue ranges from a relatively mild self-limiting illness to a severe life-threatening and sometimes fatal disease. Infection with one DENV serotype produces life-long homotypic immunity, but incomplete and short-term heterotypic protection. The development of small-animal models that recapitulate the characteristics of the disseminated disease seen clinically has been difficult, slowing the development of vaccines and therapeutics. The AG129 mouse (deficient in interferon alpha/beta and gamma receptor signalling) has proven to be valuable for this purpose, with the development of models of disseminated DENV-2,-3 and -4 disease. Recently, a DENV-1 AG129 model was described, but it requires antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) to produce lethality. Here we describe a new AG129 model utilizing a non-mouse-adapted DENV-1 strain, West Pacific 74, that does not require ADE to induce lethal disease. Following high-titre intraperitoneal challenge, animals experience a virus infection with dissemination to multiple visceral tissues, including the liver, spleen and intestine. The animals also become thrombocytopenic, but vascular leakage is less prominent than in AG129 models with other DENV serotypes. Taken together, our studies demonstrate that this model is an important addition to dengue research, particularly for understanding the pathological basis of the disease between DENV serotypes and allowing the full spectrum of activity to test comparisons for putative vaccines and antivirals.

A mini-review of Bunyaviruses recorded in India.

Newly emerging and re-emerging viral infections are of major public health concern. Bunyaviridae family of viruses comprises a large group of animal viruses. Clinical symptoms exhibited by persons infected by viruses belonging to this family vary from mild-to-severe diseases i.e., febrile illness, encephalitis, haemorrhagic fever and acute respiratory illness. Several arthropods-borne viruses have been discovered and classified at serological level in India in the past. Some of these are highly pathogenic as the recent emergence and spread of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus and presence of antibodies against Hantavirus in humans in India have provided evidences that it may become one of the emerging diseases in this country. For many of the discovered viruses, we still need to study their relevance to human and animal health. Chittoor virus, a variant of Batai virus; Ganjam virus, an Asian variant of Nairobi sheep disease virus; tick-borne viruses such as Bhanja, Palma and mosquito-borne viruses such as Sathuperi, Thimiri, Umbre and Ingwavuma viruses have been identified as the members of this family. As Bunyaviruses are three segmented RNA viruses, they can reassort the segments into genetically distinct viruses in target cells. This ability is believed to play a major role in evolution, pathogenesis and epidemiology of the viruses. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of discovery, emergence and distribution of Bunyaviruses in India.

Sleeping site ecology, but not sex, affect ecto- and hemoparasite risk, in sympatric, arboreal primates (Avahi occidentalis and Lepilemur edwardsi).

A central question in evolutionary parasitology is to what extent ecology impacts patterns of parasitism in wild host populations. In this study, we aim to disentangle factors influencing the risk of parasite exposure by exploring the impact of sleeping site ecology on infection with ectoparasites and vector-borne hemoparasites in two sympatric primates endemic to Madagascar. Both species live in the same dry deciduous forest of northwestern Madagascar and cope with the same climatic constraints, they are arboreal, nocturnal, cat-sized and pair-living but differ prominently in sleeping site ecology. The Western woolly lemur (Avahi occidentalis) sleeps on open branches and frequently changes sleeping sites, whereas the Milne-Edward's sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi) uses tree holes, displaying strong sleeping site fidelity. Sleeping in tree holes should confer protection from mosquito-borne hemoparasites, but should enhance the risk for ectoparasite infestation with mites and nest-adapted ticks. Sex may affect parasite risk in both species comparably, with males bearing a higher risk than females due to an immunosuppressive effect of higher testosterone levels in males or to sex-specific behavior. To explore these hypotheses, ectoparasites and blood samples were collected from 22 individuals of A. occidentalis and 26 individuals of L. edwardsi during the dry and rainy season.

ClearColi BL21(DE3)-based expression of Zika virus antigens illustrates a rapid method of antibody production against emerging pathogens.

Available rapid, simple and accurate methods for detection and diagnosis of emerging viral diseases are required. Recently, there was an urgent need for specific antibodies against mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV), which is an emerging zoonotic disease of medical concern in different regions of the world. Here, we showed that overexpression of ZIKV antigens in ClearColi BL21(DE3), a bacteria strain expressing a non-endotoxic form of LPS, is suitable for the production of specific ZIKV antisera. Two major ZIKV antigenic domains, the domain III from envelope E glycoprotein, which brings the virus-specific epitopes, and the N-terminal region of nonstructural NS1 glycoprotein, which is responsible for pathophysiological conditions, were overexpressed in ClearColi BL21(DE3). Immunization of adult rat with insoluble recombinant ZIKV antigens in inclusion bodies resulted in the production of specific antibodies in a few weeks. Anti-E and anti-NS1 antibodies are efficient as biological tools for ZIKV detection by indirect ELISA and immunoblot assay. This method could successfully be applied to any emerging viruses.

Chikungunya in kidney transplant recipients: A series of cases.

Chikungunya (CHIK) is a mosquito-borne virus (CHIKV) infection that recently appeared in the Americas and thousands of confirmed cases have been reported in Brazil since the first autochthonous cases were reported in September 2014. We reported four cases of CHIK in kidney transplant recipients. The diagnosis was confirmed by positive CHIKV real-time polymerase chain reaction in two cases and positive CHIKV-IgM serology in two patients. The time between transplantation and CHIKV infection ranged from 2 to 11 years. All of them had arthralgia, and 3 of them had fever. Other symptoms were mild conjunctivitis, rash, and retro-orbital pain. Kidney function remained stable in all cases. In three patients prednisone doses were temporally increased and the symptoms disappeared concurrently with the increase of the dose. As for the fourth patient, the prednisone dose remained unchanged and yet she improved. Other immunosuppressive drugs were not changed for the four cases. As far as we know, there are only two previously reported cases of CHIK among solid organ transplant recipients besides the four cases reported here. Despite the small number of cases, we can speculate that the use of immunosuppression might have played a role in the paucity of symptoms and the gradual complete recovery with no complication.

A Human Bi-specific Antibody against Zika Virus with High Therapeutic Potential.

Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, causes devastating congenital birth defects. We isolated a human monoclonal antibody (mAb), ZKA190, that potently cross-neutralizes multi-lineage ZIKV strains. ZKA190 is highly effective in vivo in preventing morbidity and mortality of ZIKV-infected mice. NMR and cryo-electron microscopy show its binding to an exposed epitope on DIII of the E protein. ZKA190 Fab binds all 180 E protein copies, altering the virus quaternary arrangement and surface curvature. However, ZIKV escape mutants emerged in vitro and in vivo in the presence of ZKA190, as well as of other neutralizing mAbs. To counter this problem, we developed a bispecific antibody (FIT-1) comprising ZKA190 and a second mAb specific for DII of E protein. In addition to retaining high in vitro and in vivo potencies, FIT-1 robustly prevented viral escape, warranting its development as a ZIKV immunotherapy.

Updated estimation of the impact of a Japanese encephalitis immunization program with live, attenuated SA 14-14-2 vaccine in Nepal.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a mosquito-borne disease that is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality in many Asian countries. The objective of this study was to describe the impact of the JE immunization program using SA 14-14-2 JE vaccine implemented in Nepal during 2006 through 2011. A previous assessment after the initial program implementation phase described a significantly lower post-campaign JE incidence compared to expected incidence; however, the previous evaluation had limited post-campaign data for some districts.

A novel immunization approach for dengue infection based on conserved T cell epitopes formulated in calcium phosphate nanoparticles.

Dengue virus (DV) is the etiologic agent of dengue fever, the most significant mosquito-borne viral disease in humans. Most DV vaccine approaches are focused on generating antibody mediated responses; one such DV vaccine is approved for use in humans but its efficacy is limited. While it is clear that T cell responses play important role in DV infection and subsequent disease manifestations, fewer studies are aimed at developing vaccines that induce robust T cells responses. Potent T cell based vaccines require two critical components: the identification of specific T cell stimulating MHC associated peptides, and an optimized vaccine delivery vehicle capable of simultaneously delivering the antigens and any required adjuvants. We have previously identified and characterized DV specific HLA-A2 and -A24 binding DV serotypes conserved epitopes, and the feasibility of an epitope based vaccine for DV infection. In this study, we build on those previous studies and describe an investigational DV vaccine utilizing T cell epitopes incorporated into a calcium phosphate nanoparticle (CaPNP) delivery system. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of functional immunogenicity of DV CaPNP/multipeptide formulations in vitro and in vivo and demonstrates the CaPNP/multipeptide vaccine is capable of inducing T cell responses against all four serotypes of DV. This synthetic vaccine is also cost effective, straightforward to manufacture, and stable at room temperature in a lyophilized form. This formulation may serve as an effective candidate DV vaccine that protects against all four serotypes as either a prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine.

Drug repurposing approaches to fight Dengue virus infection and related diseases.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease caused by four antigenically distinct serotypes of Dengue Virus (DENV), namely DENV1-4 and is currently considered the most important arthropod-born viral disease in the world. An effective antiviral therapy to treat Dengue Virus infection is still missing and a number of replicative cycle inhibitors are currently under study. Considering the rapid spreading of DENV and the common timeframe required for bringing a new drug on the market, the repurposing of approved drugs used for different diseases to identify novel inhibitors of this pathogen represents an attractive approach for a rapid therapeutic intervention. Herein, we will describe the most recent drug repurposing approaches to fight DENV infection and their implications in antiviral drug-discovery.

STD-NMR experiments identify a structural motif with novel second-site activity against West Nile virus NS2B-NS3 protease.

West Nile virus (WNV) belongs to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. This mosquito-borne virus that is highly pathogenic to humans has been evolving into a global threat during the past two decades. Despite many efforts, neither antiviral drugs nor vaccines are available. The viral protease NS2B-NS3(pro) is essential for viral replication, and therefore it is considered a prime drug target. However, success in the development of specific NS2B-NS3(pro) inhibitors had been moderate so far. In the search for new structural motifs with binding affinity for NS2B-NS3(pro), we have screened a fragment library, the Maybridge Ro5 library, employing saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR experiments as readout. About 30% of 429 fragments showed binding to NS2B-NS3(pro). Subsequent STD-NMR competition experiments using the known active site fragment A as reporter ligand yielded 14 competitively binding fragments, and 22 fragments not competing with A. In a fluorophore-based protease assay, all of these fragments showed inhibition in the micromolar range. Interestingly, 10 of these 22 fragments showed a notable increase of STD intensities in the presence of compound A suggesting cooperative binding. The most promising non-competitive inhibitors 1 and 2 (IC50 ∼ 500 μM) share a structural motif that may guide the development of novel second-site (potentially allosteric) inhibitors of NS2B-NS3(pro). To identify the matching protein binding site, chemical shift perturbation studies employing (1)H,(15)N-TROSY-HSQC experiments with uniformly (2)H,(15)N-labeled protease were performed in the presence of 1, and in the concomitant absence or presence of A. The data suggest that 1 interacts with Met 52* of NS2B, identifying a secondary site adjacent to the binding site of A. Therefore, our study paves the way for the synthesis of novel bidentate NS2B-NS3(pro) inhibitors.

Risk analysis of inter-species reassortment through a Rift Valley fever phlebovirus MP-12 vaccine strain.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease endemic to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The causative agent, Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV), belongs to the genus Phlebovirus in the family Phenuiviridae and causes high rates of abortions in ruminants, and hemorrhagic fever, encephalitis, or blindness in humans. Viral maintenance by mosquito vectors has led to sporadic RVF outbreaks in ruminants and humans in endemic countries, and effective vaccination of animals and humans may minimize the impact of this disease. A live-attenuated MP-12 vaccine strain is one of the best characterized RVFV strains, and was conditionally approved as a veterinary vaccine in the U.S. Live-attenuated RVF vaccines including MP-12 strain may form reassortant strains with other bunyavirus species. This study thus aimed to characterize the occurrence of genetic reassortment between the MP-12 strain and bunyavirus species closely related to RVFV. The Arumowot virus (AMTV) and Gouleako goukovirus (GOLV), are transmitted by mosquitoes in Africa. The results of this study showed that GOLV does not form detectable reassortant strains with the MP-12 strain in co-infected C6/36 cells. The AMTV also did not form any reassortant strains with MP-12 strain in co-infected C6/36 cells, due to the incompatibility among N, L, and Gn/Gc proteins. A lack of reassortant formation could be due to a functional incompatibility of N and L proteins derived from heterologous species, and due to a lack of packaging via heterologous Gn/Gc proteins. The MP-12 strain did, however, randomly exchange L-, M-, and S-segments with a genetic variant strain, rMP12-GM50, in culture cells. The MP-12 strain is thus unlikely to form any reassortant strains with AMTV or GOLV in nature.

Current Status of Rift Valley Fever Vaccine Development.

Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease that presents a substantial threat to human and public health. It is caused by Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV), which belongs to the genus Phlebovirus and the family Phenuiviridae within the order Bunyavirales. The wide distribution of competent vectors in non-endemic areas coupled with global climate change poses a significant threat of the transboundary spread of RVFV. In the last decade, an improved understanding of the molecular biology of RVFV has facilitated significant progress in the development of novel vaccines, including DIVA (differentiating infected from vaccinated animals) vaccines. Despite these advances, there is no fully licensed vaccine for veterinary or human use available in non-endemic countries, whereas in endemic countries, there is no clear policy or practice of routine/strategic livestock vaccinations as a preventive or mitigating strategy against potential RVF disease outbreaks. The purpose of this review was to provide an update on the status of RVF vaccine development and provide perspectives on the best strategies for disease control. Herein, we argue that the routine or strategic vaccination of livestock could be the best control approach for preventing the outbreak and spread of future disease.

Analysis of nuclear and organellar genomes of Plasmodium knowlesi in humans reveals ancient population structure and recent recombination among host-specific subpopulations.

The macaque parasite Plasmodium knowlesi is a significant concern in Malaysia where cases of human infection are increasing. Parasites infecting humans originate from genetically distinct subpopulations associated with the long-tailed (Macaca fascicularis (Mf)) or pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina (Mn)). We used a new high-quality reference genome to re-evaluate previously described subpopulations among human and macaque isolates from Malaysian-Borneo and Peninsular-Malaysia. Nuclear genomes were dimorphic, as expected, but new evidence of chromosomal-segment exchanges between subpopulations was found. A large segment on chromosome 8 originating from the Mn subpopulation and containing genes encoding proteins expressed in mosquito-borne parasite stages, was found in Mf genotypes. By contrast, non-recombining organelle genomes partitioned into 3 deeply branched lineages, unlinked with nuclear genomic dimorphism. Subpopulations which diverged in isolation have re-connected, possibly due to deforestation and disruption of wild macaque habitats. The resulting genomic mosaics reveal traits selected by host-vector-parasite interactions in a setting of ecological transition.