Examining Host Advantages of Dengue Viruses

Kanya Long (Biology)

Examining host advantages of dengue viruses in a two-host cell culture system

Dengue virus, like all arboviruses, alternates between vertebrate and invertebrate hosts to accomplish its life cycle.  Dengue has adapted from cycling between monkeys and forest mosquitoes to cycling between humans and urban mosquitoes, resulting in endemic transmission of the most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in humans.  Evidence suggests that adaptation occurred independently for the four distinct, currently circulating serotypes of the virus.  In this study, we will explore replication kinetics of three serotypes of dengue virus in two host cell lines, one mammalian (Vero 76) and one mosquito (C6/36), to identify distinct fitness advantages between serotypes.  A comparison of growth kinetics following alternating cell passage versus passage restricted to a single-host cell type will provide preliminary evidence of preexisting host-specific replication advantages.  Understanding specific adaptations that enabled urbanization of the DENV serotypes is an important public health goal that we will begin to address in this study.  

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