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Tick-Virus Interactions Shape persistence and Transmission OF Flavivirus pathogen in tick vector

Project description

Role of tick–virus interaction in the transmission of tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV), transmitted by ticks, causes life-threatening encephalitis that involves the central nervous system. A better understanding of virus development inside ticks requires systematic studies, including novel models of virus–tick interactions. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the TVISTOFF project aims to investigate the role of molecular factors in TBEV virulence and the impact of tick neurosecretory compounds on the adaptation and transmission of the virus. The interdisciplinary approach includes the development of innovative fluorescently labelled TBEV mutants, the implementation of a host-free tick feeding system using an artificial membrane, and the characterisation of tick neuroendocrine system components. The obtained results and novel tools will provide a research foundation for other diseases associated with tick-borne viruses.


In Europe, tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) causes tick-borne encephalitis, the most important viral life-threatening disease transmitted by ticks. Interactions among the virus, tick and host are inseparable and paramount for a successful circulation of TBEV in an enzootic cycle. Nevertheless, research in this area has predominantly focused on TBEV pathogenesis in vertebrate hosts. Limited knowledge on virus-tick interactions points out to lack of systematic studies and warrants research implementing novel virus-tick models. Therefore, the goal of this fellowship is to investigate the roles of molecular factors of TBEV virulence and tick neurosecretory compounds in adaptation and transmission of TBEV. The innovative concept involves a development of fluorescently labelled TBEV mutants by reverse genetics, implementation of host-free artificial membrane tick feeding system, and characterising components of tick neuroendocrine systems. The interdisciplinary approach of interconnecting the applicant's unique skills in tick physiology and bacterial tick-borne pathogens, expertise of the host group in arbovirology and capacity of partner group in physiology of tick neuroendocrine systems will be instrumental in widening knowledge on virus-tick interactions. Developed tools and obtained results will provide invaluable foundation for research of other neglected tick-borne viruses. Taking together, this fellowship will enable the applicant to reintegrate into the host organisation in his home country, to carry out innovative research, and ultimately to reach professional maturity as an independent investigator.


Net EU contribution
€ 155 364,48
845 05 Bratislava

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Slovensko Bratislavský kraj Bratislavský kraj
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 155 364,48