Characterization of an endogenous gene expressed in Aedes aegypti using an orally infectious recombinant Sindbis virus

L. L. Cheng, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Lyric Bartholomay, University of Wisconsin - Madison
K. E. Olson, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
C. Lowenberger, University of Wisconsin - Madison
J. Vizioli, Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire
S. Higgs, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Barry J. Beaty, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Bruce M. Christensen, University of Wisconsin–Madison

This article is from Journal of Insect Science 1 (2001):1-7.


Sindbis virus expression vectors have been used successfully to express and silence genes of interest in vivo in several mosquito species, including Aedes aegypti, Ae. albopictus, Ae. triseriatus,Culex pipiens,Armigeres subalbatus and Anopheles gambiae. Here we describe the expression of an endogenous gene, defensin, in Ae. aegypti using the orally infectious Sindbis virus, MRE/3′2J expression vector. We optimized conditions to infect mosquito larvae per os using C6/36 Ae. albopictus cells infected with the recombinant virus to maximize virus infection and expression of defensin. Infection with the parental Sindbis virus (MRE/3′2J) did not induce defensin expression. Mosquito larvae infected by ingestion of recombinant Sindbis virus-infected C6/36 cells expressed defensin when they emerged as adults. Defensin expression was observed by western analysis or indirect fluorescent assay in all developmental stages of mosquitoes infected with MRE/3′2J virus that contained the defensin insert. The multiplicity of infection of C6/36 cells and the quantity of infected cells consumed by larvae played an important role in defensin expression. Parental viruses, missing the defensin insert, and/or other defective interfering virus may have contributed to these observations.