Mosquito saliva enhances virus infection through sialokinin-dependent vascular leakage

Daniella A. Lefteri, Steven R. Bryden, Marieke Pingen, Sandra Terry, Ailish McCafferty, Emily F. Beswick, Georgi Georgiev, Marleen Van der Laan, Valeria Mastrullo, Paola Campagnolo, Robert M. Waterhouse, Margus Varjak, Andres Merits, Rennos Fragkoudis, Stephen Griffin, Kave Shams, Emilie Pondeville, Clive S. McKimmie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes are an increasingly important global cause of disease. Defining common determinants of host susceptibility to this large group of het-erogenous pathogens is key for informing the rational design of panviral medicines. Infection of the vertebrate host with these viruses is enhanced by mosquito saliva, a complex mixture of salivary-gland-derived factors and microbiota. We show that the enhancement of infection by saliva was dependent on vascular function and was independent of most antisaliva immune responses, including salivary microbiota. Instead, the Aedes gene product sialokinin mediated the enhancement of virus infection through a rapid reduction in endothelial barrier integrity. Sialokinin is unique within the insect world as having a vertebrate-like tachykinin sequence and is absent from Anopheles mosquitoes, which are incompetent for most arthropod-borne viruses, whose saliva was not proviral and did not induce similar vascular permeability. Therapeutic strategies targeting sialokinin have the potential to limit disease severity following infection with Aedes mosquito-borne viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2114309119
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • mosquitoes
  • arbovirus
  • inflammation
  • endothelium


Dive into the research topics of 'Mosquito saliva enhances virus infection through sialokinin-dependent vascular leakage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this