Differential host cell responses to the alphavirus Sindbis were observed in visceral muscles of the adult female mosquito Aedes albopictus. Following intrathoracic inoculation with SIN, muscles associated with the midgut, hindgut, and ovary resulted in clearance, persistence, and refractoriness to virus, respectively. Prominent sarcomeres characteristic of myofilaments were identified in muscles associated with these three organs by phalloidin labeling of actin, confirming these cells as muscle. The location of virus antigen mimicked the distribution of actin in both mid- and hindgut-associated muscles. Furthermore, these myofilaments remained intact following virus clearance from midgut muscles and during virus persistence in hindgut muscles. Changes in the temporal onset of virus antigen following high titer inoculum compared with standard titer inoculum was observed in anterior midgut muscles, but not in muscles associated with the posterior midgut or hindgut. Muscle bundles closely approximated the gut surface, while a wispy association was displayed at the ovary surface. Prominent ultrastructural differences were observed in the basal lamina attached to the gut compared with the ovary. Additionally, ultrastructural evidence for virus-associated pathology was observed in gut-associated muscles and gut epithelium. Visceral muscles, all composed of the same tissue type, but associated to three different organs in the insect abdomen, responded differentially to Sindbis. We speculate that variations in structure, function or physiology and ultrastructure inherent to insect host cells or organs interactions reflect the complicated milieu of the organism and contribute to differential virus phenotypic expression in muscle cells.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2