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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Apr;10(3):267-74. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0067.

Infection, dissemination, and transmission of a West Nile virus green fluorescent protein infectious clone by Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus mosquitoes.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Texas Medical Branch , Galveston, Texas 77539-0609, USA.


We report the construction and comparative characterization of a full-length West Nile virus (WNV) cDNA infectious clone (ic) that contains a green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression cassette fused within the viral open reading frame. Virus derived from WNV-GFP ic stably infected Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus mosquitoes at comparable rates to virus derived from the parental (non-GFP) ic. However, insertion of this GFP cassette resulted in a temporal delay in in vivo replication kinetics and significantly decreased dissemination to head tissue. Consistent with previous reports of WNV-infected mosquito midguts, focal GFP expression was observed at 3 days post-infection (dpi), with the majority of posterior midgut epithelial cells being positive by 7 dpi. GFP foci were observed in one pair of salivary glands (1/15) dissected 14 dpi. Mice exposed to WNV-GFP-infected mosquitoes developed viremia, and GFP was detected in lymph node homogenates. These data demonstrate the effectiveness of our strategy to generate a replication competent construct with increased reporter gene stability that may be used to study early events in infection.

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