Larval stress alters dengue virus susceptibility in Aedes aegypti (L.) adult females

David S. Kang, Yehonatan Alcalay, Diane D. Lovin, Joanne M. Cunningham, Matthew W. Eng, Dave D. Chadee, David W. Severson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In addition to genetic history, environmental conditions during larval stages are critical to the development, success and phenotypic fate of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. In particular, previous studies have shown a strong genotype-by-environment component to adult mosquito body size in response to optimal vs stressed larval conditions. Here, we expand upon those results by investigating the effects of larval-stage crowding and nutritional limitation on the susceptibility of a recent field isolate of Aedes aegypti to dengue virus serotype-2. Interestingly, female mosquitoes from larvae subjected to a stressed regime exhibited significantly reduced susceptibility to disseminated dengue infection 14 days post infection compared to those subjected to optimal regimes. Short term survivorship post-infected blood feeding was not significantly different. As with body size, dengue virus susceptibility of a mosquito population is determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and is likely maintained by balancing selection. Here, we provide evidence that under different environmental conditions, the innate immune response of field-reared mosquitoes exhibits a large range of phenotypic variability with regard to dengue virus susceptibility. Further, as with body size, our results suggest that mosquitoes reared under optimal laboratory conditions, as employed in all mosquito-pathogen studies to date, may not always be realistic proxies for natural populations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Dengue virus
  • Larval stress
  • Susceptibility
  • Vector competence


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