Virus interferes with host-seeking behaviour of mosquito

Chantal B.F. Vogels*, Jelke J. Fros, Gorben P. Pijlman, Joop J.A. van Loon, Gerrit Gort, Constantianus J.M. Koenraadt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Transmission of vector-borne pathogens is dependent on the hostseeking behaviour of their vector. Pathogen manipulation of the hostseeking behaviour of vectors towards susceptible hosts is supposedly beneficial for transmission. For West Nile virus (WNV), manipulation of the host-seeking behaviour of the main mosquito vector towards birds would be advantageous, because mammals are dead-end hosts. We hypothesised that WNV infection induces a stronger host-seeking response and a shift in host preference towards birds, to enhance its transmission by mosquitoes. However, here we show that WNV infection decreases the host-seeking response, and does not induce a shift in mosquito host preference. Other fitnessrelated traits are not affected by WNV infection. No effect of WNV infectionwas found on antennal electrophysiological responsiveness. Thus, the reduced host-seeking response is likely to result from interference in the mosquito's central nervous system. This is the first study that shows changes, specifically in the host-seeking behaviour induced by a pathogen, that do not favour transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3598-3603
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Culex pipiens
  • Host preference
  • Manipulation
  • Olfaction
  • Virus transmission
  • 017-4047


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