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DETERMINANTS OF VECTOR SPECIFICITY OF O’NYONG NYONG AND CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUSES IN ANOPHELES AND AEDES MOSQUITOES

DANA L. VANLANDINGHAMDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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KONSTANTIN TSETSARKINDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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KIMBERLY A. KLINGLERDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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CHAO HONGDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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KATE L. MCELROYDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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MICHAEL J. LEHANEDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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STEPHEN HIGGSDepartment of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom

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The alphaviruses o’nyong nyong virus (ONNV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV) provide a unique system to study the viral genes involved in vector specificity. ONNV infects both anopheline and culicine mosquitoes, whereas CHIKV infects only culicine mosquitoes. In this study, chimeric viruses were constructed that contained genes from both ONNV and CHIKV. These chimeras and previously described full-length infectious clones of ONNV and CHIKV were evaluated in Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Virus derived from the infectious clones of ONNV and CHIKV retained the vector specificity of the parental viruses. All six of the chimeras were found to infect Ae. aegypti mosquitoes at high rates but only the chimera containing viral genes encoding all of the structural proteins of ONNV was able to infect An. gambiae mosquitoes. These data indicate that all of the viral structural proteins are necessary for ONNV to infect An. gambiae mosquitoes.

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