Microscopic Visualisation of Zoonotic Arbovirus Replication in Tick Cell and Organ Cultures Using Semliki Forest Virus Reporter Systems

Lesley Sakyi, Sabine Weisheit, Claudia Rückert, Gerald Barry, John Fazakerley, Rennos Fragkoudis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ticks are vectors and reservoirs of many arboviruses pathogenic for humans or domestic animals; in addition, during bloodfeeding they can acquire and harbour pathogenic arboviruses normally transmitted by other arthropods such as mosquitoes. Tick cell and organ cultures provide convenient tools for propagation and study of arboviruses, both tick-borne and insect-borne, enabling elucidation of virus-tick cell interaction and yielding insight into the mechanisms behind vector competence and reservoir potential for different arbovirus species. The mosquito-borne zoonotic alphavirus Semliki Forest virus (SFV), which replicates well in tick cells, has been isolated from Rhipicephalus, Hyalomma, and Amblyomma spp. ticks removed from mammalian hosts in East Africa; however nothing is known about any possible role of ticks in SFV epidemiology. Here we present a light and electron microscopic study of SFV infecting cell lines and organ cultures derived from African Rhipicephalus spp. ticks. As well as demonstrating the applicability of these culture systems for studying virus-vector interactions, we provide preliminary evidence to support the hypothesis that SFV is not normally transmitted by ticks because the virus does not infect midgut cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number28
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2016

Keywords

  • tick cell line
  • tick organ culture
  • arbovirus
  • Semliki Forest virus
  • reporter gene
  • microscopy

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