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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011 May;5(5):e1172. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001172. Epub 2011 May 17.

Variation in vector competence for dengue viruses does not depend on mosquito midgut binding affinity.

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Virology and Immunology, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.



Dengue virus genotypes of Southeast Asian origin have been associated with higher virulence and transmission compared to other genotypes of serotype 2 (DEN-2). We tested the hypothesis that genetic differences in dengue viruses may result in differential binding to the midgut of the primary vector, Aedes aegypti, resulting in increased transmission or vectorial capacity.


Two strains of each of the four DEN-2 genotypes (Southeast Asian, American, Indian, and West African) were tested to determine their binding affinity for mosquito midguts from two distinct populations (Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico and McAllen, Texas, USA). Our previous studies demonstrated that Southeast Asian viruses disseminated up to 65-fold more rapidly in Ae. aegypti from Texas and were therefore more likely to be transmitted to humans. Results shown here demonstrate that viruses from all four genotypes bind to midguts at the same rate, in a titer-dependent manner. In addition, we show population differences when comparing binding affinity for DEN-2 between the Tapachula and McAllen mosquito colonies.


If midgut binding potential is the same for all DEN-2 viruses, then viral replication differences in these tissues and throughout the mosquito can thus probably explain the significant differences in dissemination and vector competence. These conclusions differ from the established paradigms to explain mosquito barriers to infection, dissemination, and transmission.

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