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Special Issue "Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. William C. Wilson

Research Microbiologist Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Unit (ABADRU)USDA, ARS, Center for Grain and Animal Health 1515 College Ave Manhattan, KS 66502, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Arbovirology; Bluetongue virus; Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus; Japanese Encephalitis virus; Rift Valley fever virus; Vesicular Stomatitis virus; Molecular evolution
Guest Editor
Dr. Barbara S. Drolet

United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Arthropod Borne Animal Disease Research Unit, 1515 College Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Arthropod-borne animal diseases; arbovirus; Culicoides-Borne viruses; insect vectors; insect salivary proteins; virus-vector-host interations; Orbiviruses; Rift Valley Fever virus; Japanese encephalitis virus; vesicular stomatitis virus

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Culicoides biting midges are important world-wide public health and agricultural pests that transmit several emerging and re-emerging arboviruses causing economically significant losses from infected humans, livestock, and wildlife. The Culicoides-borne arboviruses include African horse sickness, bluetongue, and epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses (Orbivirus), Schmallenberg, Akabane, Oropouche viruses (Orthobunyavirus), and vesicular stomatitis and bovine ephemeral fever viruses (Rhabdoviridae). Although Culicoides biting midges have been recognized as important arboviral vectors for more than half a century, much is still unknown about the interactions between viruses, vectors, and infected hosts. The emergence and recent re-emergence of one of these arboviruses (bluetongue virus) in Europe have stimulated new interest in Culicoides-borne disease detection, surveillance, vaccine design, viral and vector genomics and proteomics, as well as integrated pest management of these important disease vectors.

This Special Issue on “Virus–Vector–Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases” is open to all researchers working on Culicoides and Culicoides-borne viruses.

Papers are welcome as original research articles as well as review articles dealing with recent advancements and the current understanding of Culicoides-borne diseases.

Dr. William C. Wilson
Dr. Barbara S. Drolet
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Culicoides-borne diseases
  • African horse sickness
  • bluetongue
  • epizootic hemorrhagic disease
  • Schmallenberg
  • Akabane
  • Oropouche 
  • vesicular stomatitis
  • bovine ephemeral fever
  • vector biology
  • immunology
  • integrated pest management

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
Presence of Antibodies against Bluetongue Virus (BTV) in Sheep 5 to 7.5 Years after Vaccination with Inactivated BTV-8 Vaccines
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060533
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 8 June 2019
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Abstract
Thirty-six female sheep, previously vaccinated against Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) using inactivated vaccines, were included in this field study. In Germany, vaccination was compulsory in 2008 and 2009, voluntary in 2010 and early 2011, and later, was prohibited in 2011. Due to [...] Read more.
Thirty-six female sheep, previously vaccinated against Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) using inactivated vaccines, were included in this field study. In Germany, vaccination was compulsory in 2008 and 2009, voluntary in 2010 and early 2011, and later, was prohibited in 2011. Due to their age, eighteen sheep had been vaccinated for two or more consecutive years, while a further eighteen animals had only been vaccinated once or not at all. The sheep were blood sampled five (n = 31) to 7.5 years (n = 5) after their last vaccination. All serum samples (n = 36) were tested for BTV group-specific antibodies by an ELISA (IDScreen® Bluetongue Competition assay, ID Vet). In five of the animals, the BTV-8 serotype-specific antibody titers were measured by serum neutralization (SN). The majority of sheep that were vaccinated annually for two or more years showed a positive ELISA (14/18 sheep) and a SN (two of two sheep) result 5 years after their last vaccination. Most of the sheep vaccinated fewer than twice showed a negative ELISA result 5 to 7.5 years after their last vaccination (13/18 animals). The three animals in this group tested by SN showed one negative and two positive results. This short communication is the first to describe the presence of BTV antibodies in sheep 5 to 7.5 years after vaccination with inactivated BTV-8 vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
Open AccessArticle
Attenuation of Bluetongue Virus (BTV) in an in ovo Model Is Related to the Changes of Viral Genetic Diversity of Cell-Culture Passaged BTV
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050481
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 26 May 2019
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Abstract
The embryonated chicken egg (ECE) is routinely used for the laboratory isolation and adaptation of Bluetongue virus (BTV) in vitro. However, its utility as an alternate animal model has not been fully explored. In this paper, we evaluated the pathogenesis of BTV in [...] Read more.
The embryonated chicken egg (ECE) is routinely used for the laboratory isolation and adaptation of Bluetongue virus (BTV) in vitro. However, its utility as an alternate animal model has not been fully explored. In this paper, we evaluated the pathogenesis of BTV in ovo using a pathogenic isolate of South African BTV serotype 3 (BTV-3) derived from the blood of an infected sheep. Endothelio- and neurotropism of BTV-3 were observed by immunohistochemistry of non-structural protein 1 (NS1), NS3, NS3/3a, and viral protein 7 (VP7) antigens. In comparing the pathogenicity of BTV from infectious sheep blood with cell-culture-passaged BTV, including virus propagated through a Culicoides-derived cell line (KC) or ECE, we found virus attenuation in ECE following cell-culture passage. Genomic analysis of the consensus sequences of segments (Seg)-2, -5, -6, -7, -8, -9, and -10 identified several nucleotide and amino-acid mutations among the cell-culture-propagated BTV-3. Deep sequencing analysis revealed changes in BTV-3 genetic diversity in various genome segments, notably a reduction of Seg-7 diversity following passage in cell culture. Using this novel approach to investigate BTV pathogenicity in ovo, our findings support the notion that pathogenic BTV becomes attenuated in cell culture and that this change is associated with virus quasispecies evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Response of Female Culicoides sonorensis Biting Midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) to Early Infection with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV-2)
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050473
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 20 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
Female Culicoides sonorensis biting midges are vectors of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which causes morbidity and mortality in wild and domesticated ruminants. The aims in this study were to identify key changes in female midge transcriptome profiles occurring during early infection with [...] Read more.
Female Culicoides sonorensis biting midges are vectors of epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which causes morbidity and mortality in wild and domesticated ruminants. The aims in this study were to identify key changes in female midge transcriptome profiles occurring during early infection with EHDV-2. Midges were fed either negative control bloodmeals or bloodmeals containing EHDV-2 and transcriptomes were acquired at 36 h through deep sequencing. Reads were de novo assembled into a transcriptome comprised of 18,754 unigenes. Overall, there were 2401 differentially expressed unigenes and ~60% were downregulated in response to the virus (953 up; 1448 down). Downstream Gene Ontology enrichment, KEGG pathway mapping, and manual analyses were used to identify the effect of virus ingestion at both the gene and pathway levels. Downregulated unigenes were predominantly assigned to pathways related to cell/tissue structure and integrity (actin cytoskeleton, adherens junction, focal adhesion, hippo signaling), calcium signaling, eye morphogenesis and axon guidance. Unigenes attributed to sensory functions (especially vision), behavior, learning and memory were largely downregulated. Upregulated unigenes included those coding for innate immune processes, olfaction and photoreceptor pigments. Our results suggest that midges respond to virus infection as soon as 36 h post-ingestion, and that EHDV-2 may have a significant phenotypic effect on sensory and neural tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Post-Epidemic Distribution of Schmallenberg Virus in Culicoides Arbovirus Vectors in Poland
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050447
Received: 6 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Pooled samples of female and male Culicoides midges (5146 and 332 pools, respectively) that corresponded to a total number of 124,957 specimens were collected between 2013–2017 in the vicinity of cattle barns that were distributed throughout Poland were analyzed for the presence of [...] Read more.
Pooled samples of female and male Culicoides midges (5146 and 332 pools, respectively) that corresponded to a total number of 124,957 specimens were collected between 2013–2017 in the vicinity of cattle barns that were distributed throughout Poland were analyzed for the presence of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) RNA. Sixty-six pools tested positive (1.2%) with mean Ct value of 34.95. The maximum likelihood estimated infection rate (MLE) was calculated at 0.53 per 1000 individuals; however, it peaked in 2016 with MLE of 3.7. Viral RNA was detected in C. obsoletus/scoticus complex, C. punctatus, and C. pulicaris pools. Moreover, viral material was present in nulliparous (virgin) Culicoides females (MLE 0.27) and for the first time reported in males (MLE 0.34), which suggests the possibility of transovarial route of SBV or virus RNA transmission, as both do not fed on host blood. The accuracy of targeted versus random SBV surveillance in Culicoides vectors was compared. The relationship between infection rate (expressed as minimum infection rate; MIR), in addition to MLE, was compared with the density of virus infected midges (DIM). In conclusion, the SBV infection rate in the vector was significantly higher in 2016 as compared to other surveillance years; this is consistent with the simultaneous increase in SBV seroprevalence (seroconversion) in ruminants during the same year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Phylogenetic Characterization of the Palyam Serogroup Orbiviruses
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050446
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 27 April 2019 / Accepted: 1 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
The Palyam serogroup orbiviruses are associated with abortion and teratogenesis in cattle and other ruminants. Of the 13 different serotypes that have been identified, the full genome sequence of only one, Kasba, has been published. We undertook to perform Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) [...] Read more.
The Palyam serogroup orbiviruses are associated with abortion and teratogenesis in cattle and other ruminants. Of the 13 different serotypes that have been identified, the full genome sequence of only one, Kasba, has been published. We undertook to perform Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and phylogenetic analysis on 12 Palyam serotypes plus field isolates of the African serotypes in our possession. The Palyam serogroup was found to be most closely related to the African horse sickness virus group and showed the most distant evolutionary relationship to the equine encephalosis viruses (EEV). Amino acid sequence analysis revealed that the gene encoding VP7 was the most conserved within serotypes and VP2 and VP5 showed the highest degree of variation. A high degree of sequence identity was found for isolates from the same geographical region. The phylogenetic analysis revealed two clades where the African serotypes were all very closely related in one clade and the other clade contained the Australian and Asian serotypes and one African serotype, Petevo. It was evident from the sequence data that the geographical origin of Palyam serogroup viruses played an important role in the development of the different serotypes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
EHDV-2 Infection Prevalence Varies in Culicoides sonorensis after Feeding on Infected White-Tailed Deer over the Course of Viremia
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11040371
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses (EHDVs) are arboviral pathogens of white-tailed deer and other wild and domestic ruminants in North America. Transmitted by various species of Culicoides, EHDVs circulate wherever competent vectors and susceptible ruminant host populations co-exist. The impact of variation in [...] Read more.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease viruses (EHDVs) are arboviral pathogens of white-tailed deer and other wild and domestic ruminants in North America. Transmitted by various species of Culicoides, EHDVs circulate wherever competent vectors and susceptible ruminant host populations co-exist. The impact of variation in the level and duration of EHDV viremia in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on Culicoides infection prevalence is not well characterized. Here we examined how infection prevalence in a confirmed North American vector of EHDV-2 (Culicoides sonorensis) varies in response to fluctuations in deer viremia. To accomplish this, five white-tailed deer were experimentally infected with EHDV-2 and colonized C. sonorensis were allowed to feed on deer at 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 days post infection (dpi). Viremia profiles in deer were determined by virus isolation and titration at the same time points. Blood-fed Culicoides were assayed for virus after a 10-day incubation (27 °C) period. We found that increases in deer EHDV blood titers significantly increased both the likelihood that midges would successfully acquire EHDV and the proportion of midges that reached the titer threshold for transmission competence. Unexpectedly, we identified four infected midge samples (three individuals and one pool) after feeding on one deer 18 and 24 dpi, when viremia was no longer detectable by virus isolation. The ability of ruminants with low-titer viremia to serve as a source of EHDV for blood-feeding Culicoides should be explored further to better understand its potential epidemiological significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Vector Competence of Culicoides sonorensis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 2 Strains from Canada and Florida
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11040367
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 20 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), an Orbivirus transmitted by Culicoides spp. vectors, is represented by seven serotypes and numerous strains worldwide. While studies comparing vector competence between serotypes exist, studies between viral strains are lacking. In this study, we examined the rates of [...] Read more.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), an Orbivirus transmitted by Culicoides spp. vectors, is represented by seven serotypes and numerous strains worldwide. While studies comparing vector competence between serotypes exist, studies between viral strains are lacking. In this study, we examined the rates of infection, dissemination, and transmission of two strains of EHDV-2 orally fed to the known vector, Culicoides sonorensis Wirth & Jones. Culicoides sonorensis cohorts were fed an infectious blood meal containing EHDV-2 strains from either Alberta, Canada (Can-Alberta) or Florida (5.5 log10 PFUe/mL) and tested for the vector’s susceptibility to infection and dissemination. In addition, transmission rates of the virus were assessed and compared using capillary tube and honey card methods. Our results show that the Florida strain had higher infection and dissemination rates than the Can-Alberta strain in spite of the Florida strain having significantly lower viral titers in C. sonorensis bodies, legs, and saliva than the Can-Alberta strain. Overall transmission rates were not significantly different between the two strains but varied significantly between the methods used. These findings suggest that the consequences of EHDV infection in C. sonorensis vary between virus strains and have huge implications in future vector competence studies involving Culicoides species and Orbiviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Bovine Ephemeral Fever in Asia: Recent Status and Research Gaps
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 412; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050412
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 May 2019 / Published: 3 May 2019
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Abstract
Bovine ephemeral fever is an arthropod-borne viral disease affecting mainly domestic cattle and water buffalo. The etiological agent of this disease is bovine ephemeral fever virus, a member of the genus Ephemerovirus within the family Rhabdoviridae. Bovine ephemeral fever causes economic losses [...] Read more.
Bovine ephemeral fever is an arthropod-borne viral disease affecting mainly domestic cattle and water buffalo. The etiological agent of this disease is bovine ephemeral fever virus, a member of the genus Ephemerovirus within the family Rhabdoviridae. Bovine ephemeral fever causes economic losses by a sudden drop in milk production in dairy cattle and loss of condition in beef cattle. Although mortality resulting from this disease is usually lower than 1%, it can reach 20% or even higher. Bovine ephemeral fever is distributed across many countries in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Africa. Prevention and control of the disease mainly relies on regular vaccination. The impact of bovine ephemeral fever on the cattle industry may be underestimated, and the introduction of bovine ephemeral fever into European countries is possible, similar to the spread of bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus. Research on bovine ephemeral fever remains limited and priority of investigation should be given to defining the biological vectors of this disease and identifying virulence determinants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Culicoides Biting Midges—Underestimated Vectors for Arboviruses of Public Health and Veterinary Importance
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11040376
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
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Abstract
Culicoides biting midges, small hematophagous dipterans, are the demonstrated or putative vectors of multiple arboviruses of veterinary and public health importance. Despite its relevance in disease spread, the ceratopogonid genus Culicoides is still a largely neglected group of species, predominantly because the major [...] Read more.
Culicoides biting midges, small hematophagous dipterans, are the demonstrated or putative vectors of multiple arboviruses of veterinary and public health importance. Despite its relevance in disease spread, the ceratopogonid genus Culicoides is still a largely neglected group of species, predominantly because the major human-affecting arboviruses are considered to be transmitted by mosquitoes. However, when a pathogen is detected in a certain vector species, a thorough search for further vectors often remains undone and, therefore, the relevant vector species may remain unknown. Furthermore, for many hematophagous arthropods, true vector competence is often merely suspected and not experimentally proven. Therefore, we aim to illuminate the general impact of Culicoides biting midges and to summarize the knowledge about biting midge-borne disease agents using the order Bunyavirales, the largest and most diverse group of RNA viruses, as an example. When considering only viruses evidentially transmitted by Culicoides midges, the Simbu serogroup (genus Orthobunyavirus) is presumably the most important group within the virus order. Its members are of great veterinary importance, as a variety of simbuviruses, e.g., the species Akabane orthobunyavirus or Schmallenberg orthobunyavirus, induces severe congenital infections in pregnant animals. The major zoonotic representative of this serogroup occurs in South and Central America and causes the so-called Oropouche fever, an acute febrile illness in humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virus-Vector-Host Interactions of Culicoides-Borne Diseases)
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