Research / Scientific departments / Units and Laboratories / Laboratory Arboviruses and Insects Vectors
Laboratory Arboviruses and Insect Vectors
The laboratory “Arboviruses and Insect Vectors” has been created on November 1st 2011 in the Department of Virology at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. It corresponds to the former group on vector transmission which was one of the groups within the unit of Molecular Genetics of Bunyavirus headed by Michèle Bouloy who has retired in October 2011. Anna-Bella Failloux is the leader of LAIV.
The research developed in the laboratory “Arboviruses and Insect vectors” aims to understand the potential of arboviruses to emerge by dissecting the vectorial system of different combinations of viruses/blood-feeding insects.
Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are transmitted among vertebrate hosts by hematophagous arthropod vectors such as mosquitoes. Vertebrates are “blood-sources” required by this kind of arthropods to complete their life cycle. Blood providing nutrients for ovogenesis, females must feed on host to be able to mature their eggs. In the course of this blood-meal, saliva is injected and transmission of the pathogen to the vertebrate can occur if infectious particles are present in saliva. Blood-feeding arthropods may feed several times during their life span and can ingest genetically distinct variants of a given virus species playing a key role in generating and maintaining genetic diversity and in selecting genotypes involved in epidemics.
A biosafety level 3 laboratory (BSL-3), located in the “Nicolle” building, is the heart of our activities. This facility is unique in France and in Europe, with two rooms with appropriate conditions for maintaining mosquitoes after oral infection. It is dedicated to experimental infections of mosquitoes with arboviruses. We currently manipulate five arboviruses: dengue, chikungunya, West-Nile, yellow fever and Rift valley fever viruses. We raise mosquitoes required for our experiments in other insectaries located in the “Pasteur Biotop” building.
We combine precise experimental assessments of vector competence and field investigations on vector ecology to direct the choice of populations to be analysed. Laboratory colonization of field-collected mosquito populations, experimental infections in BSL-3 laboratory, tracking of virus in the course of infection within the vector using viral quantification (quantitative RT-PCR, plaque assays, GFP-infectious clone..) and visualisation (electronic microscopy, histological examination, confocal microscopy) are some aspects that we handle easily. This expertise has been recognized through our participation to the Laboratory of Excellence (Labex) IBEID for Integrative Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases.