Detection of broadly distributed sodium channel alleles characteristic of insect pyrethroid resistance in West Nile virus vector Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes in the United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • West Nile virus (WNV) has emerged as a health threat to the North American population since its initial outbreak in New York City in 1999. Culex (Culex) pipiens complex mosquitoes have been considered to play the primary role in the enzootic maintenance and transmission of WNV in North America. The voltage-gated sodium channel (NaCh) gene contains pyrethroid resistance-associated mutations in the coding region in many insect species. However, the knowledge of potential NaCh mutations was minimal in Culex. Seeking pyrethroid resistance alleles in Culex, we evaluated a transect along the east coast of the United States with an NaCh-based genotyping tool that amplified a portion of the transcribed sequence containing kdr mutations and the intron immediately downstream of the mutation site. Three genotypes that are typically associated with pyrethroid resistance in insects have been identified in Culex pipiens complex mosquitoes in this study: susceptible wild type kds, the classical knock-down resistance Leu --> Phe mutation (Phe/kdr), and a second resistance mechanism, a Leu --> Ser mutation (Ser/kdr). Moreover, we observed heterozygotic individual mosquitoes possessing both kdr alleles. Results of this study advance our knowledge of the potential for pyrethroid insecticide resistance among the populations of Cx. pipiens complex in the United States.

publication date

  • March 2009