Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research
Project Number: 3020-32000-020-002-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jul 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2024
Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a midge-transmitted pathogen that infects primarily sheep and cattle. BTV circulates year-round in tropical areas with little evidence of disease. In the temperate zone outbreaks of disease occur episodically during late summer and early fall (Gibbs and Greiner 1994). These outbreaks are then curtailed with freezing temperatures. This study seeks to answer the question of how BTV re-emerges after seemingly being eradicated by winter in the temperate zone.
The approach used to investigate this relationship includes inoculating bovine red blood cells (RBC) with specific concentrations of bluetongue virus serotype 17 and culturing the RBCs for up to four weeks. Samples of the inoculated RBCs will be analyzed by RT-qPCR, virus isolation on insect and mammalian cells using different preparation methods (ie., centrifugation, RBC lysis, sonication), indirect immunofluorescence targeting BTV VP7 and immunoelectron microscopy. By correlating the number of cell-associated virions at different concentrations of virus over time with genome copy numbers and the success of virus isolation will provide a more rigorous test of the hypothesis that RBC-associated BTV is an overwintering mechanism of bluetongue virus.