Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27390932
BMC Infect. Dis. 2016 Jul;16:318
BACKGROUND: Dengue viruses (DENV) are comprised in four related serotypes (DENV-1 to 4) and are critically important arboviral pathogens affecting human populations in the tropics. South American countries have seen the reemergence of DENV since the 1970’s associated with the progressive re-infestation by the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti. In French Guiana, DENV is now endemic with the co-circulation of different serotypes resulting in viral epidemics. Between 2009 and 2010, a predominant serotype change occurred from DENV-1 to DENV-4 suggesting a competitive displacement. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential role of the mosquito in the selection of the new epidemic serotype.
METHODS: To test this hypothesis of competitive displacement of one serotype by another in the mosquito vector, we performed mono- and co-infections of local Ae. aegypti collected during the inter-epidemic period with both viral autochthonous epidemic serotypes and compared infection, dissemination and transmission rates. We performed oral artificial infections of F1 populations in BSL-3 conditions and analyzed infection, dissemination and transmission rates.
RESULTS: When two populations of Ae. aegypti from French Guiana were infected with either serotype, no significant differences in dissemination and transmission were observed between DENV-1 and DENV-4. However, in co-infection experiments, a strong competitive advantage for DENV-4 was seen at the midgut level leading to a much higher dissemination of this serotype. Furthermore only DENV-4 was present in Ae. aegypti saliva and therefore able to be transmitted.
CONCLUSIONS: In an endemic context, mosquito vectors may be infected by several DENV serotypes. Our results suggest a possible competition between serotypes at the midgut level in co-infected mosquitoes leading to a drastically different transmission potential and, in this case, favoring the competitive displacement of DENV-1 by DENV-4. This phenomenon was observed despite a similar replicative fitness in mono-infections conditions.