Multi-peaked adaptive landscape for chikungunya virus evolution predicts continued fitness optimization in Aedes albopictus mosquitoes

Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 16;5:4084. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5084.


Host species-specific fitness landscapes largely determine the outcome of host switching during pathogen emergence. Using chikungunya virus (CHIKV) to study adaptation to a mosquito vector, we evaluated mutations associated with recently evolved sub-lineages. Multiple Aedes albopictus-adaptive fitness peaks became available after CHIKV acquired an initial adaptive (E1-A226V) substitution, permitting rapid lineage diversification observed in nature. All second-step mutations involved replacements by glutamine or glutamic acid of E2 glycoprotein amino acids in the acid-sensitive region, providing a framework to anticipate additional A. albopictus-adaptive mutations. The combination of second-step adaptive mutations into a single, 'super-adaptive' fitness peak also predicted the future emergence of CHIKV strains with even greater transmission efficiency in some current regions of endemic circulation, followed by their likely global spread.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / virology*
  • Animals
  • Chikungunya Fever / transmission
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology*
  • Chikungunya virus / classification
  • Chikungunya virus / genetics*
  • Chikungunya virus / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / virology*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics


  • Viral Envelope Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KJ796844
  • GENBANK/KJ796845
  • GENBANK/KJ796846
  • GENBANK/KJ796847
  • GENBANK/KJ796848
  • GENBANK/KJ796849
  • GENBANK/KJ796850
  • GENBANK/KJ796851
  • GENBANK/KJ796852