Autochthonous transmission of west nile virus by a new vector in iran, vector-host interaction modeling and virulence gene determinants

Nariman Shahhosseini*, Seyed Hassan Moosa-Kazemi, Mohammad Mehdi Sedaghat, Gary Wong, Sadegh Chinikar, Zahra Hajivand, Hamid Mokhayeri, Norbert Nowotny, Mohammad Hassan Kayedi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Using molecular techniques and bioinformatics tools, we studied the vector-host interactions and the molecular epidemiology of West Nile virus (WNV) in western Iran. Mosquitoes were collected during 2017 and 2018. DNA typing assays were used to study vector-host interactions. Mosquitoes were screened by RT-PCR for the genomes of five virus families. WNV-positive samples were fully sequenced and evolutionary tree and molecular architecture were constructed by Geneious software and SWISS-MODEL workspace, respectively. A total of 5028 mosquito specimens were collected and identified. The most prevalent species was Culex (Cx.) pipiens complex (57.3%). Analysis of the blood-feeding preferences of blood-fed mosquitoes revealed six mammalian and one bird species as hosts. One mosquito pool containing non-blood-fed Cx. theileri and one blood-fed Culex pipiens pipiens (Cpp.) biotype pipiens were positive for WNV. A phylogram indicated that the obtained WNV sequences belonged to lineage 2, subclade 2 g. Several amino acid substitutions suspected as virulence markers were observed in the Iranian WNV strains. The three-dimensional structural homology model of the E-protein identified hot spot domains known to facilitate virus invasion and neurotropism. The recent detection of WNV lineage 2 in mosquitoes from several regions of Iran in consecutive years suggests that the virus is established in the country.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1449
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Cx. pipiens
  • Cx. theileri
  • Iran
  • Phylogeny
  • Virulence factors
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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