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Research Project: Characterization of Arbovirus-mosquito-vertebrate Host Interactions

Location: Foreign Arthropod Borne Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 3022-32000-024-008-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2021
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

The long-term goal of this project is the development an understanding of the virus-vector-host interactions on arbovirus transmission, pathogenicity, and maintenance in order to better predict virus evolution and effects of climate change to inform risk models of virus emergence and disease outbreaks.

The ARS and KSU collaborative team have developed target species models for arbovirus infection to evaluate diagnostic and vaccine control strategies. In this project, these models will be used to characterize abiotic and biotic factors that affect virus transmission, replication, and pathogenicity at a molecular level. There are several approaches that will be used to complement and enhance research being conducted by ARS and other ARS partners. The first is to assist in applying animal models to understand the effect of mosquito transmission and/or viral genetics on target animal infectivity and pathogenicity. These studies will also include effects of host origin on the pathogenicity and molecular characteristics (i.e. virus population genetics, post-translational processing and etc.) of the arboviruses. In other projects, ARS is also evaluating the effect of environmental temperature on arbovirus replication in relevant mosquito hosts. This KSU cooperation will expand that ARS study by assessing the transcriptomics and virus population genetics from representative samples from this study. Ongoing ARS/KSU cooperation is beginning to identify genes that affect RVFV replication in vertebrate and invertebrate cells. This project will continue this work and expand this work to include studies with JEV and other potentially emerging animal or zoonotic viruses. Targets identified will be further evaluated using RNA interference (RNAi) technology in appropriate vector mosquito species. Finally, this project will assist ARS’ development of means to detect and characterize arboviruses and use this data to inform risk and/or prediction models for potential emerging arboviruses due to human encroachment through deforestation and other activities and climate affects.