Nutritional stress compromises mosquito fitness and antiviral immunity, while enhancing dengue virus infection susceptibility

Jiayue Yan, Changhyun Raymond Kim, Leta Chesser, Jose L. Ramirez, Christopher M Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diet-induced nutritional stress can influence pathogen transmission potential in mosquitoes by impacting life history traits, infection susceptibility, and immunity. To investigate these effects, we manipulate mosquito diets at larval and adult stages, creating two nutritional levels (low and normal), and expose adults to dengue virus (DENV). We observe that egg number is reduced by nutritional stress at both stages and viral exposure separately and jointly, while the likelihood of laying eggs is exclusively influenced by adult nutritional stress. Adult nutritional stress alone shortens survival, while any pairwise combination between both-stage stress and viral exposure have a synergistic effect. Additionally, adult nutritional stress increases susceptibility to DENV infection, while larval nutritional stress likely has a similar effect operating via smaller body size. Furthermore, adult nutritional stress negatively impacts viral titers in infected mosquitoes; however, some survive and show increased titers over time. The immune response to DENV infection is overall suppressed by larval and adult nutritional stress, with specific genes related to Toll, JAK-STAT, and Imd immune signaling pathways, and antimicrobial peptides being downregulated. Our findings underscore the importance of nutritional stress in shaping mosquito traits, infection outcomes, and immune responses, all of which impact the vectorial capacity for DENV transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1123
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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