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Aedes Aegypti saliva enhances chikungunya virus replication in human skin fibroblasts via inhibition of the type I interferon signaling pathway.

Infect Genet Evol; 55: 68-70, 2017 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28866137
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) transmission occurs through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito which injects virus-containing saliva into the skin of the human host during blood feeding. In the present study, we have determined the effect of Aedes aegypti saliva on CHIKV replication in human skin fibroblasts, a major cell type for viral entry, which mimics the events that occur during natural transmission. A significant increase in the expression of viral transcripts and infectious viral particles was observed in fibroblasts infected with CHIKV in the presence of saliva, as compared with those infected with virus alone. CHIKV-infected human fibroblasts were found to express significantly increased levels of various type I IFN-responsive genes, as demonstrated by specific PCR array analysis. In contrast, the expression of these genes was markedly decreased in cells infected with CHIKV in the presence of mosquito saliva. Moreover, Western blotting analysis revealed that STAT2 and its phosphorylated form were down-regulated in the presence of mosquito saliva. Our data demonstrate for the first time the significance of Aedes aegypti saliva in promoting CHIKV infection via down-regulation of several type I IFN-responsive genes in infected human skin fibroblasts via the JAK-STAT signaling pathway.