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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Research Project #438186

Research Project: Assessing Arbovirus Effects on Sensory Function and Behavior of Female Culicoides Sonorensis Midges

Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 3020-32000-018-11-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2025

Objective:
Determine effects of arbovirus (orbivirus, vesicular stomatitis virus) infection on sensory function and other behaviors in female Culicoides sonorensis.

Approach:
Arboviruses like bluetongue virus (BTV), epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) heavily infect the eyes and other sensory organs, as well as associated neural tissues of infected female Culicoides sonorensis midges. This project will use information from previous studies and a parallel set of studies (transcriptomic, proteomic analyses of infected midges) to more specifically assess the effects of arbovirus infection on sensory function and behavior of female midges. Midges will be infected with virus via microinjection (to ensure full disseminated infection; "infected" group) or will be uninjected or sham-injected (both serve as "control" groups). Expression of genes and proteins associated with sensory and brain function (e.g. eye photoreceptors; determined from prior and parallel studies) will be determined by qRTPCR, western analysis and/or immunostaining of whole tissues from infected and control groups. Gene expression will be compared across tissues between infected and control groups. In addition, the behavioral phenotypes of infected midges will be compared to controls by implementing behavioral assays (e.g. photoattraction assays, olfactory choice assays; to be determined based on expression analyses) and/or paired electrophysiological measurements aimed at assessing sensory organ function, such as electroretinograms and electroantennograms.