Research Project Database
Code: EMIDA13
Title: RiftVectors - Vector competence of European mosquitoes to Rift Valley fever virus
Country: United Kingdom
Funding Organisation: Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC)
Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
French National Research Agency (ANR)
Italian Ministry of Health Department for Veterinary Public Health, Nutrition and Food Safety
Animal Group: Birds
Pathogen: Arboviruses
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV)
Disease: Rift valley fever
Category: Epidemiology, Risk and Decision Support > Identification of risk factos for the emergence of new diseases
Infection, immunity and biotechnology > Fundamental/basic and Applied studies, including molecular, cellular, pathogen population dynamics and ecology > Vector biology
Infection, immunity and biotechnology > Fundamental/basic and Applied studies, including molecular, cellular, pathogen population dynamics and ecology > Virology
Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
University of Oxford
Institut Pasteur
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Regioni Lazio e Toscana
Number of Research Staff (FTE):  
Principal Investigator (PI): Dr Alain Kohl, University of Glasgow
Cost (Euros): 1852425
End Date (dd/mm/yyyy): 31-03-2015
Duration (months): 36
Project objectives and deliverables with estimated delivery dates for each deliverable (if possible): Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an arbovirus infecting humans and livestock after amplification in wild animals. It is readily transmitted through several mosquito genera including Aedes and Culex mosquitoes, and has a large host range. The recent expansion of the geographical range of RVFV clearly indicates that RVFV is not restricted to Africa. It has been proposed that a single infected person
or animal that enters a naive country is sufficient to initiate an outbreak. This transmission scenario is becoming more probable due to the expansion of worldwide trade and travel. We aim to further understand the vector biology of natural RVFV vectors and their counterparts in Europe to assess and the risk of RVFV to be established in Europe, and how vectors can be manipulated to prevent the risk of
RVFV transmission.
Five work packages have been designed to answer the following questions:
- Two complexes of sibling species are composed of potential RVFV vectors. The Culex pipiens and Aedes vexans complexes have a worldwide distribution (temperate as well as tropical sub-species). Whereas the taxonomic status of Culex pipiens is largely resolved, what are the phylogenetic relationships between the members of the Aedes vexans complex, and the distribution/population dynamics of individual species in a European model setting?
- Aedine and culicine species might show differences in vector competence to RVFV. Are the European counterparts of these mosquitoes as RVFV vectors in the field competent to transmit RVFV, and can RVFV adapt to european mosquitoes? What environmental factors can influence maintenance and vertical transmission in a tropical mosquito model?
- Arboviruses replicate in mosquito vectors with minimal cytopathological effects. Interactions between the replicating virus and the mosquito immune system control this phenomenon, and immunity also influences subsequent virus transmission. The mosquito innate immune response to RVFV has not been analysed and we propose to use a transcriptomics approach to analyse what it consists of (RNAi, other pathways), followed by functional tests.
- The bacterium Wolbachia is widely used in symbiosis-based control strategies against viruses. What would be the effect of Wolbachia on the vector competence of mosquitoes to RVFV?
Expected results:
The expertise of the different partners will be of great benefit to tackle questions on RVFV vector biology and provide answers to key questions in RVFV emergence and spread. Indeed, a better knowledge of RVFV vectors and factors controlling RVFV replication as well as novel transmission control strategies will be helpful to apprehend RVFV emergence and control.
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