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EFFECT OF TEMPERATURE STRESS ON IMMATURE STAGES AND SUSCEPTIBILITY OF AEDES AEGYPTI MOSQUITOES TO CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS

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  • 1 National Institute of Virology, Pune, India
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A high temperature stress of 44.5°C for 10 minutes on the larval stages was found to affect the susceptibility of adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to chikungunya virus. At this temperature, the mortality of the mosquito larvae was found to be approximately 95%, whereas a temperature greater than 45°C for 10 minutes was found to be lethal. A temperature tolerant (TT) strain was developed by exposing the larvae to a temperature of 44.5°C for 10 minutes at every generation for five generations. This strain was established to determine whether increase in the susceptibility was due to any selection pressure of higher temperature or to the influence of other intrinsic factors such as expression of immunoresponsive (IR) genes. Other studies on these mosquito strains showed that when maintained at 28 ± 1°C, there was no difference in the larval duration and mortality in the immature stages, but the mean survival of female mosquitoes in the TT strain was 5–6 days longer. Conversely, when mosquitoes were maintained throughout at 37°C the mean survival of the mosquitoes decreased drastically in both strains, but the mean survival of females in the TT strain was 5–6 days longer compared with the unstressed controls. This increases the probability of at least one more blood meal. Fecundity of the TT strain was found to be lower than that of the control mosquitoes. Data suggest that expression of certain IR genes was affected by the heat shock. Some of these genes were up-regulated and down-regulated, which may have affected the susceptibility of mosquitoes to the virus. Although there was some selection in the temperature-tolerant individuals in the TT strain, when stressed by heat they showed expression of IR genes in a pattern similar to that in the normal controls. It appears that an increase in temperature above the average temperature of an area might help increase the proportion of virus-susceptible mosquitoes in the population. Such an increase in temperature in an endemic area would not only enhance the selection of temperature-tolerant individuals in a population having more longevity, but would also affect both intrinsic and extrinsic factors by reducing the extrinsic incubation period and increasing susceptibility of mosquitoes to viruses due to affected expression of IR genes.

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