Mosquito salivary glands play crucial role in transmission of arboviral diseases like Dengue (DENV), Zika (ZIKV) and Chikungunya (CHIKV). We aimed to characterize virus responsive gene expression in salivary glands against these pathogenic arboviruses.

We performed high throughput RNA-sequencing on uninfected and virus-infected (DENV, ZIKV, CHIKV) female salivary glands to elucidate differential expression of genes at the transcript level. We validated the transcriptomic analysis by qPCR and performed RNA-i based functional characterization of virus-induced immune genes.

DENV, ZIKV or CHIKV infected salivary gland transcriptome revealed regulations of genes related to blood feeding, metabolism, apoptosis, and immunity; the latter including Toll, IMD, and JNK pathway components. Silencing of Toll and IMD pathway components did not increase replication of all three viruses. However, depletion of infection induced JNK pathway activator and repressor showed conserved antiviral response of this pathway against the viral infections. We further showed that JNK activation by arboviruses is mediated by antiviral complement and apoptosis activation.

This study determined the previously unknown antiviral mechanism of JNK pathway in mosquito salivary glands against important pathogenic arboviruses. This pathway shows potential to be utilized for developing effective transmission blocking tools.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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