Arboviruses are an emerging threat to public health. Arbovirus transmission to vertebrates hinges on dissemination from the arthropod gastrointestinal tract, and ultimately infection of the arthropod salivary glands. Therefore, salivary gland immunity impacts arbovirus transmission; however, these immune responses are poorly understood. Here, we describe the utility of Drosophila melanogaster as a salivary gland infection model. First, we describe the use of a salivary gland-specific driver to launch RNA interference or virus replicon transgenes. Next, we infect flies with an arbovirus panel and find multiple viruses that infect Drosophila salivary glands, albeit inefficiently. We find that this infection is not controlled by antiviral RNA silencing; thus, we silence a panel of immune genes in the salivary glands, but do not observe changes in infection. These data suggest that Drosophila may be used to study salivary gland infection, and that there are likely unexplored pathways controlling infection of this tissue.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.