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flavivirus - Top 30 Publications

The structure of Zika virus NS5 reveals a conserved domain conformation.

The recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) has imposed a serious threat to public health. Here we report the crystal structure of the ZIKV NS5 protein in complex with S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine, in which the tandem methyltransferase (MTase) and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) domains stack into one of the two alternative conformations of flavivirus NS5 proteins. The activity of this NS5 protein is verified through a de novo RdRp assay on a subgenomic ZIKV RNA template. Importantly, our structural analysis leads to the identification of a potential drug-binding site of ZIKV NS5, which might facilitate the development of novel antivirals for ZIKV.

Increased activity of unlinked Zika virus NS2B/NS3 protease compared to linked Zika virus protease.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus spread by daytime-active Aedes spp. mosquitoes such as A. aegypti and A. albopictus. Previously thought to be a mild infection, the latest ZIKV outbreak in the Americas is causally associated with more severe symptoms as well as severe birth defects, such as microcephaly. Currently no vaccine or antiviral exists. However, recent progress has demonstrated the viral NS2B/NS3 protease may be a suitable target for the development of small-molecule antiviral agents. To better understand the ZIKV protease, we expressed, purified, and characterized unlinked and linked NS2B/NS3 protease corresponding to an isolate from the recent outbreak in Puerto Rico. Unlinked ZIKV protease is more active and binds substrate with greater affinity than linked ZIKV protease. Therefore, we propose that unlinked ZIKV protease be used when evaluating or designing ZIKV protease inhibitors. Additionally, potent inhibitors of related viral proteases, like West Nile Virus and Dengue virus, may serve as advanced starting points to identify and develop ZIKV protease inhibitors.

Co-circulation of two Usutu virus strains in Northern Italy between 2009 and 2014.

Usutu virus is an arbovirus closely related to West Nile virus (genus Flavivirus), which circulates between mosquitoes and wild birds. This virus has been increasingly reported in Europe, raising concerns for its possible pathogenic potential for wild birds and humans. This study reports the whole genome sequences of 15 strains of USUV, isolated between 2010 and 2014 from mosquitoes and wild birds in the course of West Nile virus surveillance in the Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy regions of Northern Italy. Both whole and 656 partial genome sequences, obtained from isolated viruses and field samples (mosquitoes and wild birds), were analyzed to describe the temporal and geographical spread of USUV in the surveyed area. The detected sequences belonged to two groups, with one circulating primarily in the northwestern part of the area and the other in the southeastern part. This pattern is likely the result of different routes of introduction from the North (over the Alps) and from the East, respectively. The phylogenetic analysis of obtained sequences and other European sequences demonstrated that the majority of European strains belonged to one main clade, while less common strains, mainly from Western Europe, fell in other two clades. This analysis strongly suggested an autochthonous evolution process of strains of the main clade from a common ancestor with an estimated time of arrival in Europe at the beginning of the 1990s. In addition to causing mass mortality in wild birds, Usutu virus can infect humans and can sporadically cause disease. These factors and the endemization of the Usutu virus in a large area of Europe, sustained by the obtained data, strongly support the need to adequately survey Usutu virus in areas in which its circulation is detected.

Epidemiology of infectious encephalitis causes in 2016.

We performed a literature search in the Medline database, using the PubMed website. The incidence of presumably infectious encephalitis is estimated at 1.5-7 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year, excluding epidemics. Infectious encephalitis and immune-mediated encephalitis share similar clinical signs and symptoms. The latter accounts for a significant proportion of presumably infectious encephalitis cases without any established etiological diagnosis; as shown from a prospective cohort study where 21% of cases were due to an immune cause. Several infectious agents are frequently reported in all studies: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the most frequent pathogen in 65% of studies, followed by Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in several studies. Enteroviruses are also reported; being the most frequent viruses in two studies, and the 2nd or 3rd viruses in five other studies. There are important regional differences, especially in case of vector-borne transmission: Asia and the Japanese encephalitis virus, Eastern and Northern Europe/Eastern Russia and the tick-borne encephalitis virus, Northern America and Flavivirus or Alphavirus. Bacteria can also be incriminated: Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Listeria monocytogenes are the most frequent, after HSV and VZV, in a French prospective study. The epidemiology of encephalitis is constantly evolving. Epidemiological data may indicate the emergence and/or dissemination of new causative agents. The dissemination and emergence of causative agents are fostered by environmental, social, and economical changes, but prevention programs (vaccination, vector controls) help reduce the incidence of other infectious diseases and associated encephalitis (e.g., measles).

Molecular dynamics simulations of Zika virus NS3 helicase: Insights into RNA binding site activity.

America is still suffering with the outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. Congenital ZIKV syndrome has already caused a public health emergency of international concern. However, there are still no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat the infection caused by ZIKV. The ZIKV NS3 helicase (NS3h) protein is a promising target for drug discovery due to its essential role in viral genome replication. NS3h unwinds the viral RNA to enable the replication of the viral genome by the NS5 protein. NS3h contains two important binding sites: the NTPase binding site and the RNA binding site. Here, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to study the molecular behavior of ZIKV NS3h in the presence and absence of ssRNA and the potential implications for NS3h activity and inhibition. Although there is conformational variability and poor electron densities of the RNA binding loop in various apo flaviviruses NS3h crystallographic structures, the MD trajectories of NS3h-ssRNA demonstrated that the RNA binding loop becomes more stable when NS3h is occupied by RNA. Our results suggest that the presence of RNA generates important interactions with the RNA binding loop, and these interactions stabilize the loop sufficiently that it remains in a closed conformation. This closed conformation likely keeps the ssRNA bound to the protein for a sufficient duration to enable the unwinding/replication activities of NS3h to occur. In addition, conformational changes of this RNA binding loop can change the nature and location of the optimal ligand binding site, according to AutoLigand calculations. These are important findings to help guide the design and discovery of new inhibitors of NS3h as promising compounds to treat the ZIKV infection.

Complete Genome Sequences, before and after Mammalian Cell Culture, of Zika Virus Isolated from the Serum of a Symptomatic Male Patient from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arthropod-borne flavivirus associated with severe congenital malformations and neurological complications. Although the ZIKV genome is well characterized, there is limited information regarding changes after cell isolation and culture adaptation. We isolated, and passaged in Vero cells, ZIKV from the serum of a symptomatic male patient and compared the viral genomes before and after culture. Single nucleotide polymorphisms were characteristic among serum-circulating genomes, while such diversity decreased after cell culture.

Antiviral activity of the adenosine analogue BCX4430 against West Nile virus and tick-borne flaviviruses.

There are currently no approved antiviral therapies against medically important human flaviviruses. The imino-C-nucleoside BCX4430 shows broad-spectrum antiviral activity against a wide range of RNA viruses. Here, we demonstrate that BCX4430 inhibits tick-borne species of the genus Flavivirus; however, the antiviral effect varies against individual species. Micro-molar BCX4430 levels inhibited tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV); while, approximately 3-8-fold higher concentrations were needed to inhibit louping ill virus and Kyasanur Forest disease virus. Moreover, the compound strongly inhibited in vitro replication of West Nile virus, a typical mosquito-transmitted flavivirus. Two chemical forms of the compound, i.e. BCX4430 and BCX4430 hydrochloride, were compared and both exerted similar inhibitory profiles in our in vitro antiviral assay systems and no or negligible cytotoxicity in porcine kidney stable and Vero cells. The obtained data indicate that, in addition to mosquito-borne flaviviruses, the compound has strong antiviral activity against members of the TBEV serocomplex.

Development of a model of Saint Louis encephalitis infection and disease in mice.

Flaviviruses are a genre of closely related viral pathogens which emerged in the last decades in Brazil and in the world. Saint (St.) Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is a neglected flavivirus that can cause a severe neurological disease that may lead to death or sequelae. St. Louis encephalitis pathogenesis is poorly understood, which hinders the development of specific treatment or vaccine.

Zika virus genome biology and molecular pathogenesis.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging RNA virus in the widespread Flavivirus genus. Recently, ZIKV has rapidly spread around the world and has been implicated in human disease, including neurological disorders, triggering public and scientific attention. Understanding how ZIKV causes disease is the highest priority, yet little is known about this virus. Here we examine the currently published data from ZIKV studies to provide the latest understanding of ZIKV genome biology and molecular pathogenesis. The ZIKV genome evolved rapidly from the Flavivirus genus and diverged from the members of this genus, even within the dengue virus cluster to which ZIKV belongs. Genome variations and divergences also exist among ZIKV strains/isolates. These genome divergences might account for the uniqueness of Zika disease. ZIKV infection activates not only the antiviral immune response but also the pro-inflammatory responses associated with disease symptoms. Strikingly, ZIKV activates protein complexes that are functionally associated with disease process, such as glial cell activation and proliferation (for example, Toll-like receptors), apoptosis and cell death, and inflammation. The activation of these complexes may critically contribute to Zika disease. The novel insights into ZIKV genome divergence and disease mechanisms summarized in this review will help accelerate the development of anti-ZIKV strategies.

Flaviviridae viruses use a common molecular mechanism to escape nucleoside analogue inhibitors.

The RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of Flaviviridae viruses are crucial for replication. The Flaviviridae polymerase is organized into structural motifs (A-G), with motifs F, A, C and E containing interrogating, priming and catalytic substrate-interacting sites. Modified nucleoside analogues act as antiviral drugs by targeting Flaviviridae polymerases and integrating into the synthesized product causing premature termination. A threonine mutation of a conserved serine residue in motif B of Flaviviridae polymerases renders resistance to 2'-C-methylated nucleoside analogues. The mechanism how this single mutation causes Flaviviridae viruses to escape nucleoside analogues is not yet known. Given the pivotal position of the serine residue in motif B that supports motif F, we hypothesized the threonine mutation causes alterations in nucleoside exploration within the entry tunnel. Implementing a stochastic molecular software showed the all-atom 2'-C-methylated analogue reaction within the active sites of wild type and serine-threonine mutant polymerases from Hepacivirus and Flavivirus. Compared with the wild type, the serine-threonine mutant polymerases caused a significant decrease of analogue contacts with conserved interrogating residues in motif F and a displacement of metal ion cofactors. The simulations significantly showed that during the analogue exploration of the active site the hydrophobic methyl group in the serine-threonine mutant repels water-mediated hydrogen bonds with the 2'-C-methylated analogue, causing a concentration of water-mediated bonds at the substrate-interacting sites. Collectively, the data are an insight into a molecular escape mechanism by Flaviviridae viruses from 2'-C-methylated nucleoside analogue inhibitors.

Co-circulation of West Nile virus and distinct insect-specific flaviviruses in Turkey.

Active vector surveillance provides an efficient tool for monitoring the presence or spread of emerging or re-emerging vector-borne viruses. This study was undertaken to investigate the circulation of flaviviruses. Mosquitoes were collected from 58 locations in 10 provinces across the Aegean, Thrace and Mediterranean Anatolian regions of Turkey in 2014 and 2015. Following morphological identification, mosquitoes were pooled and screened by nested and real-time PCR assays. Detected viruses were further characterised by sequencing. Positive pools were inoculated onto cell lines for virus isolation. Next generation sequencing was employed for genomic characterisation of the isolates.

Probable Zika virus-associated Guillain-Barré syndrome: Challenges with clinico-laboratory diagnosis.

A 55year old woman in New York City presented in May 2016 with progressive weakness, ataxia, paresthesia, and areflexia, shortly after returning from the Dominican Republic. Lumbar puncture revealed cytoalbuminological dissociation. Due to her recent travel, Zika-associated Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS) was suspected and she underwent evaluation for recent flavivirus exposure. Zika virus RNA was not detected in serum, but Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) was detected in both serum and cerebrospinal fluid. Dengue virus IgM in serum was equivocal and dengue virus IgG was detected in the serum. Plaque-reduction neutralization testing showed elevated titers to both Zika virus and dengue virus, providing evidence of recent infection with a flavivirus. The patient was diagnosed with probable Zika virus-associated GBS based on clinical findings, ancillary testing, and laboratory assays according to current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Zika virus transmission in the Americas is resulting in increasing numbers of patients presenting with Zika virus-associated neurological syndromes. Clinical and laboratory diagnosis in these cases can be challenging and may be aided by consultation with CDC, and state and local public health agencies.

Zika Virus and Eye.

Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, is the latest global health concern. Transmission is mainly via Aedes mosquitoes and the infection can be diagnosed on molecular or serologic testings. It typically causes a mild self-remitting illness of low-grade fever, maculopapular rash, and myalgia, but when severe, it is associated with neurological deficits and congenital structural defects. Ocular manifestations are usually mild like nonpurulent conjunctivitis in adults, though it may be linked to uveitis, maculopathy, and hypertensive iridocyclitis. Ocular signs seem to be more significant in congenital ZIKV-macular pigment mottling, neuroretinal atrophy with macular involvement, iris coloboma, and changes in retinal vasculature are noted in infants with infected mothers. Risk factors include ZIKV infection in first trimester and smaller cephalic diameter at birth. Hence, ophthalmic examination in newborns is now recommended. Currently, prevention and active surveillance are integral as there is no known vaccine, and treatment is only symptomatic.

Zika Virus Induced Cellular Remodeling.

Zika virus (ZIKV) has been associated with morbidities such as Guillain-Barré, infant microcephaly, and ocular disease. The spread of this positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus and its growing public health threat underscore gaps in our understanding of basic ZIKV virology. To advance knowledge of the virus replication cycle within mammalian cells, we use serial section three-dimensional electron tomography to demonstrate the widespread remodeling of intracellular membranes upon infection with ZIKV. We report extensive structural rearrangements of the endoplasmic reticulum and reveal stages of the ZIKV viral replication cycle. Structures associated with RNA genome replication and virus assembly are observed integrated within the endoplasmic reticulum, and we show viruses in transit through the Golgi apparatus for viral maturation, and subsequent cellular egress. This study characterizes in detail the three-dimensional ultrastructural organization of the ZIKV replication cycle stages. Our results show close adherence of the ZIKV replication cycle to the existing flavivirus replication paradigm.

Chimeric viruses between Rocio and West Nile: the role for Rocio prM-E proteins in virulence and inhibition of interferon-α/β signaling.

Mosquito-transmitted flavivirus Rocio (ROCV) was responsible for an outbreak of encephalitis in the Ribeira Valley, located in the south coast of Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in 1975-1976. ROCV also causes fatal encephalitis in adult mice. Seroprevalence studies in humans, horses and water buffaloes in different regions of Brazil have suggested that ROCV is still circulating in the country, indicating the risk of re-emergence of this virus. West Nile virus (WNV) is also a mosquito-transmitted encephalitic flavivirus, however, WNV strains circulating in Australia have not been associated with outbreaks of disease in humans and exhibit low virulence in adult mice. To identify viral determinants of ROCV virulence, we have generated reciprocal chimeric viruses between ROCV and the Australian strain of WNV by swapping structural prM and E genes. Chimeric WNV containing ROCV prM-E genes replicated more efficiently than WNV or chimeric ROCV containing WNV prM-E genes in mammalian cells, was as virulent as ROCV in adult mice, and inhibited type I IFN signaling as efficiently as ROCV. The results show that ROCV prM and E proteins are major virulence determinants and identify unexpected function of these proteins in inhibition of type I interferon response.

Systems Biology Reveals NS4B-Cyclophilin A Interaction: A New Target to Inhibit YFV Replication.

Yellow fever virus (YFV) replication is highly dependent on host cell factors. YFV NS4B is reported to be involved in viral replication and immune evasion. Here interactions between NS4B and human proteins were determined using a GST pull-down assay and analyzed using 1-DE and LC-MS/MS. We present a total of 207 proteins confirmed using Scaffold 3 Software. Cyclophilin A (CypA), a protein that has been shown to be necessary for the positive regulation of flavivirus replication, was identified as a possible NS4B partner. 59 proteins were found to be significantly increased when compared with a negative control, and CypA exhibited the greatest difference, with a 22-fold change. Fisher's exact test was significant for 58 proteins, and the p value of CypA was the most significant (0.000000019). The Ingenuity Systems software identified 16 pathways, and this analysis indicated sirolimus, an mTOR pathway inhibitor, as a potential inhibitor of CypA. Immunofluorescence and viral plaque assays showed a significant reduction in YFV replication using sirolimus and cyclosporine A (CsA) as inhibitors. Furthermore, YFV replication was strongly inhibited in cells treated with both inhibitors using reporter BHK-21-rep-YFV17D-LucNeoIres cells. Taken together, these data suggest that CypA-NS4B interaction regulates YFV replication. Finally, we present the first evidence that YFV inhibition may depend on NS4B-CypA interaction.

Vector competence of Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes for Zika virus.

Zika virus is a newly emergent mosquito-borne flavivirus that has caused recent large outbreaks in the new world, leading to dramatic increases in serious disease pathology including Guillain-Barre syndrome, newborn microcephaly, and infant brain damage. Although Aedes mosquitoes are thought to be the primary mosquito species driving infection, the virus has been isolated from dozens of mosquito species, including Culex and Anopheles species, and we lack a thorough understanding of which mosquito species to target for vector control. We exposed Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to blood meals supplemented with two Zika virus strains. Mosquito bodies, legs, and saliva were collected five, seven, and 14 days post blood meal and tested for infectious virus by plaque assay. Regardless of titer, virus strain, or timepoint, Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes were refractory to Zika virus infection. We conclude that Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles stephensi, and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes likely do not contribute significantly to Zika virus transmission to humans. However, future studies should continue to explore the potential for other novel potential vectors to transmit the virus.

Flavivirus cross-reactivity in serological tests and Guillain-Barré syndrome in a hematopoietic stem cell transplant patient: A case report.

Serological diagnosis of flavivirus infection is a challenge, particularly in the context of a disease associated with immune response enhancement in a transplant patient, where aspects such as previous flavivirus infections may be involved with the outcome. We report a case of a pediatric patient who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after matched-unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The patient lives in a Brazilian region that is experiencing an epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) and dengue virus (DENV). Because an increasing number of cases of GBS, likely triggered by ZIKV infection, are being reported in Brazil, samples from the patient were tested for both ZIKV and DENV infection. Serological assays strongly suggested a recent ZIKV infection, although infection by DENV or co-infection with both viruses cannot be ruled out. The presence of anti-DENV immunoglobulin-G in donor serum led to the hypothesis that antibodies from the donor could have enhanced the severity of the ZIKV infection. This hypothesis is in agreement with the recent findings that DENV sero-cross-reactivity drives antibody-dependent enhancement of ZIKV infection. These findings highlight the need for discussion of the indication to perform previous flavivirus tests in HSCT donors, especially in areas where ZIKV and other flaviviruses co-circulate. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Japanese encephalitis vaccines: Immunogenicity, protective efficacy, effectiveness, and impact on the burden of disease.

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a serious public health concern in most of Asia. The disease is caused by JE virus (JEV), a flavivirus transmitted by Culex mosquitoes. Several vaccines have been developed to control JE in endemic areas as well as to protect travelers and military personnel who visit or are commissioned from non-endemic to endemic areas. The vaccines include inactivated vaccines produced in mouse brain or cell cultures, live attenuated vaccines, and a chimeric vaccine based on the live attenuated yellow fever virus 17D vaccine strain. All the marketed vaccines belong to the JEV genotype III, but have been shown to be efficacious against other genotypes and strains, with varying degrees of cross-neutralization, albeit at levels deemed to be protective. The protective responses have been shown to last three or more years, depending on the type of vaccine and the number of doses. This review presents a brief account of the different JE vaccines, their immunogenicity and protective ability, and the impact of JE vaccines in reducing the burden of disease in endemic countries.

Paper-based point-of-care testing for cost-effective diagnosis of acute flavivirus infections.

Flavivirus infections are a serious healthcare concern in tropical and subtropical countries. Although well-established laboratory tests can provide early diagnosis of acute dengue or Zika infections, access to these tests is limited in developing countries, presenting an urgent need to develop simple, rapid, and robust diagnostic tools. Microfluidic Paper-based Analytical Devices (µPAD), are typically rapid, cost-effective, user-friendly, and they can be used as diagnostic tools for the diagnosis of these infections at Point of Care settings. Early and prompt diagnosis is crucial to improve patient management and reduce the risk of complications. In the present study, we developed and evaluated a wax-printed paper-based device for the detection of the dengue and Zika non-structural NS1 viral protein in blood and plasma. Experiments have been carried out to increase specificity, while maintaining the required sensitivity. As a consequence, the quality of the raw materials and the washing steps were proved to be crucial. The µPAD was able to detect specifically in 6-8 minutes 10 ng/mL of protein in various sample types. A prototype for the differential detection of dengue and/or Zika NS1 protein was developed. The reading of the results was simplified by using a dedicated application on a smartphone. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Single-cell tracking of flavivirus RNA uncovers species-specific interactions with the immune system dictating disease outcome.

Positive-sense RNA viruses pose increasing health and economic concerns worldwide. Our limited understanding of how these viruses interact with their host and how these processes lead to virulence and disease seriously hampers the development of anti-viral strategies. Here, we demonstrate the tracking of (+) and (-) sense viral RNA at single-cell resolution within complex subsets of the human and murine immune system in different mouse models. Our results provide insights into how a prototypic flavivirus, yellow fever virus (YFV-17D), differentially interacts with murine and human hematopoietic cells in these mouse models and how these dynamics influence distinct outcomes of infection. We detect (-) YFV-17D RNA in specific secondary lymphoid compartments and cell subsets not previously recognized as permissive for YFV replication, and we highlight potential virus-host interaction events that could be pivotal in regulating flavivirus virulence and attenuation.

Seroprevalence of Zika Virus in Wild African Green Monkeys and Baboons.

Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently spread through the Americas and has been associated with a range of health effects, including birth defects in children born to women infected during pregnancy. Although the natural reservoir of ZIKV remains poorly defined, the virus was first identified in a captive "sentinel" macaque monkey in Africa in 1947. However, the virus has not been reported in humans or nonhuman primates (NHPs) in Africa outside Gabon in over a decade. Here, we examine ZIKV infection in 239 wild baboons and African green monkeys from South Africa, the Gambia, Tanzania, and Zambia using combinations of unbiased deep sequencing, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR), and an antibody capture assay that we optimized using serum collected from captive macaque monkeys exposed to ZIKV, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus. While we did not find evidence of active ZIKV infection in wild NHPs in Africa, we found variable ZIKV seropositivity of up to 16% in some of the NHP populations sampled. We anticipate that these results and the methodology described within will help in continued efforts to determine the prevalence, natural reservoir, and transmission dynamics of ZIKV in Africa and elsewhere. IMPORTANCE Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus originally discovered in a captive monkey living in the Zika Forest of Uganda, Africa, in 1947. Recently, an outbreak in South America has shown that ZIKV infection can cause myriad health effects, including birth defects in the children of women infected during pregnancy. Here, we sought to investigate ZIKV infection in wild African primates to better understand its emergence and spread, looking for evidence of active or prior infection. Our results suggest that up to 16% of some populations of nonhuman primate were, at some point, exposed to ZIKV. We anticipate that this study will be useful for future studies that examine the spread of infections from wild animals to humans in general and those studying ZIKV in primates in particular.

Identification of Zika virus epitopes reveals immunodominant and protective roles for dengue virus cross-reactive CD8(+) T cells.

CD8(+) T cells play an important role in controlling Flavivirus infection, including Zika virus (ZIKV). Here, we have identified 25 HLA-B*0702-restricted epitopes and 1 HLA-A*0101-restricted epitope using interferon (IFN)-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) in ZIKV-infected IFN-α/β receptor-deficient HLA transgenic mice. The cross-reactivity of ZIKV epitopes to dengue virus (DENV) was tested using IFN-γ-ELISPOT and IFN-γ-ICS on CD8(+) T cells from DENV-infected mice, and five cross-reactive HLA-B*0702-binding peptides were identified by both assays. ZIKV/DENV cross-reactive CD8(+) T cells in DENV-immune mice expanded post ZIKV challenge and dominated in the subsequent CD8(+) T cell response. ZIKV challenge following immunization of mice with ZIKV-specific and ZIKV/DENV cross-reactive epitopes elicited CD8(+) T cell responses that reduced infectious ZIKV levels, and CD8(+) T cell depletions confirmed that CD8(+) T cells mediated this protection. These results identify ZIKV-specific and ZIKV/DENV cross-reactive epitopes and demonstrate both an altered immunodominance pattern in the DENV-immune setting relative to naive, as well as a protective role for epitope-specific CD8(+) T cells against ZIKV. These results have important implications for ZIKV vaccine development and provide a mouse model for evaluating anti-ZIKV CD8(+) T cell responses of human relevance.

First Report of the East-Central South African Genotype of Chikungunya Virus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arbovirus that causes an acute febrile syndrome with a severe and debilitating arthralgia. In Brazil, the Asian and East-Central South African (ECSA) genotypes are circulating in the north and northeast of the country, respectively. In 2015, the first autochthonous cases in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were reported but until now the circulating strains have not been characterized. Therefore, we aimed here to perform the molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of CHIKV strains circulating in the 2016 outbreak occurred in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro.

Zika virus: History, epidemiology, transmission, and clinical presentation.

Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne positive-stranded RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae (genus Flavivirus), is now causing an unprecedented large-scale outbreak in the Americas. Historically, ZIKV spread eastward from equatorial Africa and Asia to the Pacific Islands during the late 2000s to early 2010s, invaded the Caribbean and Central and South America in 2015, and reached North America in 2016. Although ZIKV infection generally causes no symptoms or only a mild self-limiting illness, it has recently been linked to a rising number of severe neurological diseases, including microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Because of the continuous geographic expansion of both the virus and its mosquito vectors, ZIKV poses a serious threat to public health around the globe. However, there are no vaccines or antiviral therapies available against this pathogen. This review summarizes a fast-growing body of literature on the history, epidemiology, transmission, and clinical presentation of ZIKV and highlights the urgent need for the development of efficient control strategies for this emerging pathogen.

Mutagen resistance and mutation restriction of St. Louis encephalitis virus.

The error rate of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses is important in maintaining genetic diversity for viral adaptation and fitness. Numerous studies have shown that mutagen-resistant RNA virus variants display amino acid mutations in the RdRp and other replicase subunits, which in turn exhibit an altered fidelity phenotype affecting viral fitness, adaptability and pathogenicity. St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV), like its close relative West Nile virus, is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has the ability to cause neuroinvasive disease in humans. Here, we describe the successful generation of multiple ribavirin-resistant populations containing a shared amino acid mutation in the SLEV RdRp (E416K). These E416K mutants also displayed resistance to the antiviral T-1106, an RNA mutagen similar to ribavirin. Structural modelling of the E416K polymerase mutation indicated its location in the pinky finger domain of the RdRp, distant from the active site. Deep sequencing of the E416K mutant revealed lower genetic diversity than wild-type SLEV after growth in both vertebrate and invertebrate cells. Phenotypic characterization showed that E416K mutants displayed similar or increased replication in mammalian cells, as well as modest attenuation in mosquito cells, consistent with previous work with West Nile virus high-fidelity variants. In addition, attenuation was limited to mosquito cells with a functional RNA interference response, suggesting an impaired capacity to escape RNA interference could contribute to attenuation of high-fidelity variants. Our results provide increased evidence that RNA mutagen resistance arises through modulation of the RdRp and give further insight into the consequences of altered fidelity of flaviviruses.

Increased sensitivity of NS1 ELISA by heat dissociation in acute dengue 4 cases.

Dengue is an acute febrile illness considered the major arboviral disease in terms of morbidity, mortality, economic impact and dissemination worldwide. Brazil accounts for the highest notification rate, with circulation of all four dengue serotypes. The NS1 antigen is a dengue highly conserved specific soluble glycoprotein essential for viral replication and viability that can be detected 0 to 18 days from the onset of fever (peak first 3 days). It induces a strong humoral response and is known as a complement-fixing antigen. Lower NS1 test sensitivity occurs in secondary dengue infections probably due to immune complex formation impairing antigen detection by ELISA.

A Rapid Zika Diagnostic Assay to Measure Neutralizing Antibodies in Patients.

The potential association of microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities with Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy underlines the critical need for a rapid and accurate diagnosis. Due to the short duration of ZIKV viremia in infected patients, a serologic assay that detects antibody responses to viral infection plays an essential role in diagnosing patient specimens. The current serologic diagnosis of ZIKV infection relies heavily on the labor-intensive Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test (PRNT) that requires more than one-week turnaround time and represents a major bottleneck for patient diagnosis. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a high-throughput assay for ZIKV and dengue virus (DENV) diagnosis that can attain the "gold standard" of the current PRNT assay. The new assay is homogeneous and utilizes luciferase viruses to quantify the neutralizing antibody titers in a 96-well format. Using 91 human specimens, we showed that the reporter diagnostic assay has a higher dynamic range and maintains the relative specificity of the traditional PRNT assay. Besides the improvement of assay throughput, the reporter virus technology has also shortened the turnaround time to less than two days. Collectively, our results suggest that, along with the viral RT-PCR assay, the reporter virus-based serologic assay could be potentially used as the first-line test for clinical diagnosis of ZIKV infection as well as for vaccine clinical trials.

Partial dysfunction of STAT1 profoundly reduces host resistance to flaviviral infection.

The genetic basis for a dramatically increased virus susceptibility phenotype of MHC-II knockout mice acquired during routine maintenance of the mouse strain was determined. Segregation of the susceptibility allele from the defective MHC-II locus combined with sequence capture and sequencing showed that a Y37L substitution in STAT1 accounted for high flavivirus susceptibility of a newly derived mouse strain, designated Tuara. Interestingly, the mutation in STAT1 gene gave only partial inactivation of the type I interferon antiviral pathway. Accordingly, merely a relatively small impairment of interferon α/β signalling is sufficient to overcome the ability of the host to control the infection.

Human Endometrial Stromal Cells Are Highly Permissive To Productive Infection by Zika Virus.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a recently re-emerged flavivirus transmitted to humans by mosquito bites but also from mother to fetus and by sexual intercourse. We here show that primary human endometrial stromal cells (HESC) are highly permissive to ZIKV infection and support its in vitro replication. ZIKV envelope expression was detected in the endoplasmic reticulum whereas double-stranded viral RNA colocalized with vimentin filaments to the perinuclear region. ZIKV productive infection also occurred in the human T-HESC cell line together with the induction of interferon-β (IFN-β) and of IFN-stimulated genes. Notably, in vitro decidualization of T-HESC with cyclic AMP and progesterone upregulated the cell surface expression of the ZIKV entry co-receptor AXL and boosted ZIKV replication by ca. 100-fold. Thus, endometrial stromal cells, particularly if decidualized, likely represent a crucial cell target of ZIKV reaching them, either via the uterine vasculature in the viremic phase of the infection or by sexual viral transmission, and a potential source of virus spreading to placental trophoblasts during pregnancy.