Can antiviral agents help immune systems fight mosquito-borne dengue?


Aedes aegypti. Credit: UF / IFAS Photo Jim Newman

Can dengue virus be prevented by using antiviral agents such as antibiotics and vaccines? Before considering that step, scientists at the University of Florida are investigating whether the mosquito’s immune system can be adequately affected to fight the virus as a control method.

Ultimately, UF / IFAS scientists are looking for ways to prevent Aedes aegypti from becoming infected. Dengue virus..

In a new study, scientists at the UF / IFAS Florida Institute for Medical Insectology (UF / IFAS FMEL) investigated how Aedes aegypti’s immune system responds when exposed to two antiviral agents. ..Scientists have gained a coveted insight into seed physiology, that kind of physiology Immune system The next step in developing new control strategies to respond to drugs against the dengue virus and prevent people from getting sick.

Research co-author Chelsea Smart said, “We will be able to identify mosquitoes that can promote or stop the replication of the virus and use processes to prevent humans from becoming infected with the disease. I wanted to. ” He is an associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UF / FMEL in Vero Beach.

To achieve that goal, researchers Autophagy Aedes aegypti mosquito.. Autophagy occurs in living organisms at the cellular level. It’s the body’s way to wipe out damaged cells and regenerate newer, healthier cells. It reduces the chances of getting some illnesses and prolongs their lifespan.

In the case of infections, autophagy can destroy bacteria and viruses. It plays a role in immunity.Dengue infection has been shown to cause autophagy Path, This enhances human viral replication.

“We’re trying to discover genes or molecules that make vaccines that help control mosquitoes from getting sick in humans,” says Smartt.

According to Smartt, the ultimate goal is to deliver the vaccine from a feeding station that attracts mosquitoes.

Autophagy is a pathway that plays a role in maintaining cell health and involves multiple interactions within the cell, says Tse-Yu Chen, lead author of a study published in Parasites & Vectors. Doctoral Candidate During research at UF / IFAS FMEL.

“Scientists in this field believe that autophagy is an important pathway involved in human dengue virus replication, so they are interested in understanding the interaction of the autophagy pathway with the mosquito virus transmission cycle. There was, “said Chen, the current postdoc. Yale University. “Finding antiviral candidates from this route that can stop the infection cycle shows that the virus may be controlled at an earlier stage.”

In this study, scientists used two commonly prescribed drugs to combat human infections, rapamycin and 3-methyladenine. Previous studies have shown that both affect the mammalian autophagy pathway. Researchers will introduce drugs to determine whether to activate or suppress the autophagy pathways of Aedes aegypti-infected cell lines, respectively.

“Most studies of mosquito-borne pathogens look at the virus later in the infection cycle. We wanted to see what was happening in the early stages of infection to end viral replication.” Smartt says.

“If we can help mosquitoes get rid of the virus before it replicates, mosquitoes will not be enough carriers to infect humans with the pathogens that cause the disease,” Chen said. “That’s why it’s important to focus on the autophagy pathway at an early stage. The drugs we used in our studies are already established and more stable in developing mosquito vaccines. . “

After a two-day snapshot, rapamycin treatment mixed with mosquito cells blocked the virus’s ability to replicate. Scientists compared this finding to untreated control cells, Smartt said.

“Experiments have shown that some autophagy genes helped block viral replication,” Smartt said. “They will be genes to study for the future as vaccine candidates.”

“Autophagy plays an important role during mosquito dengue infection,” Chen said. “We need to validate the role of autophagy in Aedes aegypti, but cell data are autophagy, mosquitoes, and virus.. We continue to assess the potential of rapamycin as a mosquito vaccine and hope that good news will come soon. ”

Eating sugar can infect mosquitoes and impair their ability to infect arboviruses

For more information:
Tse-Yu Chen et al, Activation of the autophagy pathway reduces dengue virus infection in Aedes aegypti cells, Parasites and vectors (2021). DOI: 10.1186 / s13071-021-05066-w

Quote: Can antivirals help the immune system fight mosquito-borne dengue? (December 7, 2021) December 7, 2021 Obtained from

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