Vector-borne flaviviruses are emerging threats to human health. For successful transmission, the virus needs to efficiently enter mosquito cells and replicate within and escape several tissue barriers while mosquitoes elicit major transcriptional responses to flavivirus infection. This process will be affected not only by the specific mosquito-pathogen pairing but also by variation in key environmental variables such as temperature. Thus far, few studies have examined the molecular responses triggered by temperature and how these responses modify infection outcomes, despite substantial evidence showing strong relationships between temperature and transmission in a diversity of systems. To define the host transcriptional changes associated with temperature variation during the early infection process, we compared the transcriptome of mosquito midgut samples from mosquitoes exposed to Zika virus (ZIKV) and non-exposed mosquitoes housed at three different temperatures (20, 28, and 36°C). While the high-temperature samples did not show significant changes from those with standard rearing conditions (28°C) 48 h post-exposure, the transcriptome profile of mosquitoes housed at 20°C was dramatically different. The expression of genes most altered by the cooler temperature involved aspects of blood-meal digestion, ROS metabolism, and mosquito innate immunity. Further, we did not find significant differences in the viral RNA copy number between 24 and 48 h post-exposure at 20°C, suggesting that ZIKV replication is limited by cold-induced changes to the mosquito midgut environment. In ZIKV-exposed mosquitoes, vitellogenin, a lipid carrier protein, was most up-regulated at 20°C. Our results provide a deeper understanding of the temperature-triggered transcriptional changes in and can be used to further define the molecular mechanisms driven by environmental temperature variation.
Copyright © 2020 Ferreira, Tesla, Horácio, Nahum, Brindley, de Oliveira Mendes and Murdock.

References

PubMed