Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV) is a zoonotic flavivirus that represents the most significant etiology of childhood viral neurological infections throughout the Asia. During the last 20 years, JEV genotype dominance has shifted from genotype III (GIII) to genotype I (GI). To date, the exact mechanism of this displacement is still not known. mosquitoes are the most common species in China and play an essential role in maintaining JEV enzootic transmission cycle. In this study, we used mosquitoes from China as an mosquito model to explore if mosquitoes played a potential role in JEV genotype shift. We exposed female mosquitoes orally to either GI or GIII JEV strains. Midgut, whole mosquitoes, secondary organs, and salivary glands of JEV-infected mosquitoes were collected at 7 and 14 days of post infection (dpi) and subjected to measure the infection rate, replication kinetics, dissemination rate and transmission potential of the infected JEV strains in mosquitoes by 50% tissue culture infective dose assay. We found that mosquito was competent vector for both GI and GIII JEV infection, with similar infection rates and growth kinetics. After the establishment of infection, mosquitoes disseminated both JEV genotypes to secondary organs at similar rates of dissemination. A few GI-infected mosquito salivary glands (16.2%) were positive for GI virus, whereas GIII virus was undetectable in GIII-infected mosquito salivary glands at 7 dpi. However, 29.4% (5/17) and 36.3% (8/22) were positive for GI- and GIII-infected mosquito salivary glands at 14 dpi, respectively, showing an increase in JEV positive rate. No statistical difference in the transmission rate between GI- and GIII-infected mosquitoes was detected. Our experiment data demonstrated that GI and GIII viruses have similar infectivity in mosquitoes, suggesting that mosquitoes from China may not play a critical role in JEV genotype shift. Although the current data were obtained solely from mosquitoes, it is likely that the conclusion drawn could be extrapolated to the role of mosquitoes in JEV genotype shift.


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