Continuous cell lines from the European biting midge Culicoides nubeculosus (Meigen, 1830)

Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) transmit arboviruses of veterinary or medical importance, including bluetongue virus (BTV) and Schmallenberg virus, as well as causing severe irritation to livestock and humans. Arthropod cell lines are essential laboratory research tools for the isolation and propagation of vector-borne pathogens and the investigation of host-vectorpathogen interactions. Here we report the establishment of two continuous cell lines, CNE/LULS44 and CNE/LULS47, from embryos of Culicoides nubeculosus, a midge distributed throughout the Western Palearctic region. Species origin of the cultured cells was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and sequencing of a fragment of the cytochrome oxidase 1 gene, and the absence of bacterial contamination was confirmed by bacterial 16S rRNA PCR. Both lines have been successfully cryopreserved and resuscitated. The majority of cells examined in both lines had the expected diploid chromosome number of 2n = 6. Transmission electron microscopy of CNE/LULS44 cells revealed the presence of large mitochondria within cells of a diverse population, while arrays of virus-like particles were not seen. CNE/LULS44 cells supported replication of a strain of BTV serotype 1, but not of a strain of serotype 26 which is not known to be insect-transmitted. These new cell lines will expand the scope of research on Culicoides-borne pathogens.

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