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flavivirus - Top 30 Publications

Near-atomic structure of Japanese encephalitis virus reveals critical determinants of virulence and stability.

Although several different flaviviruses may cause encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis virus is the most significant, being responsible for thousands of deaths each year in Asia. The structural and molecular basis of this encephalitis is not fully understood. Here, we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of mature Japanese encephalitis virus at near-atomic resolution, which reveals an unusual "hole" on the surface, surrounded by five encephalitic-specific motifs implicated in receptor binding. Glu138 of E, which is highly conserved in encephalitic flaviviruses, maps onto one of these motifs and is essential for binding to neuroblastoma cells, with the E138K mutation abrogating the neurovirulence and neuroinvasiveness of Japanese encephalitis virus in mice. We also identify structural elements modulating viral stability, notably Gln264 of E, which, when replaced by His264 strengthens a hydrogen-bonding network, leading to a more stable virus. These studies unveil determinants of neurovirulence and stability in Japanese encephalitis virus, opening up new avenues for therapeutic interventions against neurotropic flaviviruses.Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a Flavivirus responsible for thousands of deaths every year for which there are no specific anti-virals. Here, Wang et al. report the cryo-EM structure of mature JEV at near-atomic resolution and identify structural elements that modulate stability and virulence.

Variable inhibition of Zika virus replication by different Wolbachia strains in mosquito cell cultures.

Mosquito-borne arboviruses are a major source of human disease. One strategy to reduce arbovirus disease is to reduce the mosquito's ability to transmit virus. Mosquito infection with bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia pipientis wMel, is a novel strategy to reduce Aedes mosquito competency for flavivirus infection. However, experiments investigating cyclic environmental temperatures have shown a reduction in maternal transmission of wMel potentially weakening the integration of this strain into a mosquito population relative to other Wolbachia strains. Consequently, it is important to investigate additional Wolbachia strains. All Zika virus (ZIKV) suppression studies are limited to the wMel Wolbachia strain. Here we show ZIKV inhibition by two different Wolbachia strains: wAlbB (isolated from Aedes albopictus mosquitoes) and wStri (isolated from the planthopper Laodelphax striatellus) in mosquito cells. The Wolbachia strain wStri inhibited ZIKV most effectively. Single-cycle infection experiments showed that ZIKV RNA replication and nonstructural protein 5 translation were reduced below the limits of detection in wStri-containing cells, demonstrating early inhibition of virus replication. ZIKV replication was rescued when Wolbachia was inhibited with a bacteriostatic antibiotic. We observed a partial rescue of ZIKV growth when Wolbachia infected cells were supplemented with cholesterol-lipid concentrate, suggesting competition for nutrients as one of the possible mechanisms of Wolbachia inhibition of ZIKV. Our data show that wAlbB and wStri infection causes inhibition of ZIKV making them attractive candidates for further in vitro mechanistic and in vivo studies and future vector-centered approaches to limit ZIKV infection and spread.IMPORTANCE Zika virus (ZIKV) has swiftly spread throughout most of the western hemisphere. This is due in large part to its replication in and spread by a mosquito vector host. There is an urgent need for approaches that limit ZIKV replication in mosquitoes. One exciting approach for this is to use a bacterial endosymbiont called Wolbachia that can populate mosquito cells and inhibit ZIKV replication. Here we show that two different strains of Wolbachia, wAlbB and wStri are effective at repressing ZIKV in mosquito cell lines. Repression of virus growth is through the inhibition of an early stage of infection and requires actively replicating Wolbachia Our findings further the understanding of Wolbachia viral inhibition and provide novel tools that can be used in an effort to limit ZIKV replication in the mosquito vector, thereby interrupting the transmission and spread of the virus.

Serologic Testing for Zika Virus: Comparison of Three Zika Virus IgM ELISAs and Initial Laboratory Experiences.

Serologic evaluation for Zika virus (ZIKV) infection currently includes an initial screen using an anti-ZIKV IgM antibody capture enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA) followed by supplemental testing of specimens with non-negative results by a plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). We compared the performance characteristics of three ELISAs for the detection of IgM-class antibodies to ZIKV, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Zika MAC-ELISA, the InBios ZIKV Detect™ MAC-ELISA, and the Euroimmun anti-Zika Virus IgM ELISA. Additionally, we present our initial experiences with ZIKV serologic testing from a national reference laboratory perspective. Using both retrospective and prospectively collected specimens from patients with possible ZIKV infection, we show that the CDC and InBios MAC-ELISAs perform comparably to each other, with positive agreement, negative agreement and interrater kappa values ranging from 87.5%-93.1%, 95.7%-98.5% and 0.52-0.83, respectively. In contrast, comparison of the Euroimmun ZIKV ELISA to either the CDC or InBios MAC-ELISAs resulted in positive agreement, negative agreement and interrater kappa values ranging from 17.9%-42.9%, 91.7%-98.6% and 0.10-0.39, respectively. Among the 19 prospective samples submitted for PRNT, nine were negative, eight specimens had neutralizing antibodies to a flavivirus (unable to be identified), and one sample each was confirmed for ZIKV or dengue virus infection. This study highlights the ongoing challenges associated with serologic diagnosis of ZIKV infection. Although the availability of a commercial serologic test for ZIKV has greatly expanded the national capacity for such testing, the need to further characterize and improve these assays, particularly with regards to specificity, remains.

Study of the mechanism of protonated histidine-induced conformational changes in the Zika virus dimeric envelope protein using accelerated molecular dynamic simulations.

The Zika virus has drawn worldwide attention because of the epidemic diseases it causes. It is a flavivirus that has an icosahedral protein shell constituted by an envelope glycoprotein (E-protein) and membrane protein (M-protein) in the mature virion. The multistep process of membrane fusion to infect the host cell is pH-induced. To understand the mechanism of the conformational changes in the (E-M)2 protein homodimer embedded in the membrane, two 200-ns accelerated dynamic simulations were performed under different pH conditions. The low pH condition weakens the interactions and correlations in both E-protein monomers and in the E-M heterodimer. The highly conserved residues, His249, His288, His323 and His446, are protonated under low pH conditions and play key roles in driving the fusion process. The analysis and discussion in this study may provide some insight into the molecular mechanism of Zika virus infection.

Mosquitoes Transmit Unique West Nile Virus Populations during Each Feeding Episode.

Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), such as Zika virus, chikungunya virus, and West Nile virus (WNV), pose continuous threats to emerge and cause large epidemics. Often, these events are associated with novel virus variants optimized for local transmission that first arise as minorities within a host. Thus, the conditions that regulate the frequency of intrahost variants are important determinants of emergence. Here, we describe the dynamics of WNV genetic diversity during its transmission cycle. By temporally sampling saliva from individual mosquitoes, we demonstrate that virus populations expectorated by mosquitoes are highly diverse and unique to each feeding episode. After transmission to birds, however, most genetic diversity is removed by strong purifying selection. Further, transmission of potentially mosquito-adaptive WNV variants is strongly influenced by genetic drift in mosquitoes. These results highlight the complex evolutionary forces a novel virus variant must overcome to alter infection phenotypes at the population level.

Congenital Zika virus infection induces severe spinal cord injury.

We reported two fatal cases of congenital Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. Brain anomalies including atrophy of the cerebral cortex and brainstem, and cerebellar aplasia were observed. The spinal cord showed architectural distortion, severe neuronal loss and microcalcifications. The ZIKV proteins and flavivirus-like particles were detected in cytoplasm of spinal neurons, and spinal cord samples were positive for the ZIKV RNA.

Zika puzzle in Brazil: peculiar conditions of viral introduction and dissemination - A Review.

This article discusses the peculiar conditions that favoured the unexpected introduction of Zika virus into the poorest northeastern region of Brazil in 2015, its speed of transmission to other Brazilian states, other Latin American countries and other regions, and the severity of related neurological disorders in newborns and adults. Contrasting with evidence that Zika had so far caused only mild cases in humans in the last six decades, the epidemiological scenario of this outbreak in Brazil indicates dramatic health effects: in 2015, an increase of 20-fold in notified cases of microcephaly and/or central nervous system (CNS) alterations suggestive of Zika congenital infection, followed by an exponential increase in 2016, with 2366 cumulative cases confirmed in the country by the end of December 2016. A significant increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults has also been reported. Factors involved in viral dissemination, neural pathogenesis and routes of transmission in Brazil are examined, such as the role of social and environmental factors and the controversies involved in the hypothesis of antibody-dependent enhancement, to explain the incidence of congenital Zika syndrome in Brazil. Responses to the Zika outbreak and the development of new products are also discussed.

Zika virus infection and its emerging trends in Southeast Asia.

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that represents a public health emergency at the ongoing epidemic. Previously, this rare virus was limited to sporadic cases in Africa and Asia until its emergence in Brazil, South America in 2015, where it rapidly spread throughout the world. Recently, a high number of cases were reported in Singapore and other Southeast Asia countries. A combination of factors explains the current Zika virus outbreak although it is highly likely that the changes in the climate and high frequency of travelling contribute to the spread of Aedes vector carrying the Zika virus mainly to the tropical climate countries such as the Southeast Asia. The Zika virus is known to cause mild clinical symptoms similar to those of dengue and chikungunya and transmitted by different species of Aedes mosquitoes. However, neurological complications such as Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, and congenital anomalies, including microcephaly in babies born to infected mothers, raised a serious concern. Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine available for Zika virus infection. Therefore, international public health response is primarily focused on preventing infection, particularly in pregnant women, and on providing up-to-date recommendations to reduce the risk of non-vector transmission of Zika virus.

Dengue Virus Non-Structural Protein 5.

The World Health Organization estimates that the yearly number of dengue cases averages 390 million. This mosquito-borne virus disease is endemic in over 100 countries and will probably continue spreading, given the observed trend in global warming. So far, there is no antiviral drug available against dengue, but a vaccine has been recently marketed. Dengue virus also serves as a prototype for the study of other pathogenic flaviviruses that are emerging, like West Nile virus and Zika virus. Upon viral entry into the host cell and fusion of the viral lipid membrane with the endosomal membrane, the viral RNA is released and expressed as a polyprotein, that is then matured into three structural and seven non-structural (NS) proteins. The envelope, membrane and capsid proteins form the viral particle while NS1-NS2A-NS2B-NS3-NS4A-NS4B and NS5 assemble inside a cellular replication complex, which is embedded in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-derived vesicles. In addition to their roles in RNA replication within the infected cell, NS proteins help the virus escape the host innate immunity and reshape the host-cell inner structure. This review focuses on recent progress in characterizing the structure and functions of NS5, a protein responsible for the replication and capping of viral RNA that represents a promising drug target.

Tick-Pathogen Interactions and Vector Competence: Identification of Molecular Drivers for Tick-Borne Diseases.

Ticks and the pathogens they transmit constitute a growing burden for human and animal health worldwide. Vector competence is a component of vectorial capacity and depends on genetic determinants affecting the ability of a vector to transmit a pathogen. These determinants affect traits such as tick-host-pathogen and susceptibility to pathogen infection. Therefore, the elucidation of the mechanisms involved in tick-pathogen interactions that affect vector competence is essential for the identification of molecular drivers for tick-borne diseases. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of tick-pathogen molecular interactions for bacteria, viruses, and protozoa affecting human and animal health. Additionally, the impact of tick microbiome on these interactions was considered. Results show that different pathogens evolved similar strategies such as manipulation of the immune response to infect vectors and facilitate multiplication and transmission. Furthermore, some of these strategies may be used by pathogens to infect both tick and mammalian hosts. Identification of interactions that promote tick survival, spread, and pathogen transmission provides the opportunity to disrupt these interactions and lead to a reduction in tick burden and the prevalence of tick-borne diseases. Targeting some of the similar mechanisms used by the pathogens for infection and transmission by ticks may assist in development of preventative strategies against multiple tick-borne diseases.

Control of Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Northwestern Italy: Preparedness from One Season to the Next.

Mosquito-borne diseases (MBDs) are spreading worldwide due to globalization and climate change, representing a threat for both humans and animals. Of great concern are the infections caused by viruses belonging to the Flavivirus genus as West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) transmitted by Culex sp. or Dengue virus and Zika virus (ZIKV), transmitted by Aedes sp. This work describes the surveillance protocol enforced in Piedmont (Northwestern Italy) to control MBDs spread, focusing on the activities performed on mosquitoes during the 2015 vector season.

In silico CD4+, CD8+ T-cell and B-cell immunity associated immunogenic epitope prediction and HLA distribution analysis of Zika virus.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus distributed all over Africa, South America and Asia. The infection with the virus may cause acute febrile sickness that clinically resembles dengue fever, yet there is no vaccine, no satisfactory treatment, and no means of evaluating the risk of the disease or prognosis in the infected people. In the present study, the efficacy of the host's immune response in reducing the risk of infectious diseases was taken into account to carry out immuno-informatics driven epitope screening strategy of vaccine candidates against ZIKV. In this study, HLA distribution analysis was done to ensure the coverage of the vast majority of the population. Systematic screening of effective dominant immunogens was done with the help of Immune Epitope & ABCPred databases. The outcomes suggested that the predicted epitopes may be protective immunogens with highly conserved sequences and bear potential to induce both protective neutralizing antibodies, T & B cell responses. A total of 25 CD4+ and 16 CD8+ peptides were screened for T-cell mediated immunity. The predicted epitope "TGLDFSDLYYLTMNNKHWLV" was selected as a highly immunogenic epitope for humoral immunity. These peptides were further screened as non-toxic, immunogenic and non-mutated residues of envelop viral protein. The predicted epitope could work as suitable candidate(s) for peptide based vaccine development. Further, experimental validation of these epitopes is warranted to ensure the potential of B- and T-cells stimulation for their efficient use as vaccine candidates, and as diagnostic agents against ZIKV.

Proteomic analysis of a mosquito host cell response to persistent Wolbachia infection.

Wolbachia pipientis, an obligate intracellular bacterium associated with arthropods and filarial worms, is a target for filarial disease treatment and provides a gene drive agent for insect vector population suppression/replacement. We compared proteomes of Aedes albopictus mosquito C/wStr1 cells persistently infected with Wolbachia strain wStr, relative to uninfected C7-10 control cells. Among approximately 2,500 proteins, iTRAQ data identified 815 differentially abundant proteins. As functional classes, energy and central intermediary metabolism proteins were elevated in infected cells, while suppressed proteins with roles in host DNA replication, transcription and translation suggested that Wolbachia suppresses pathways that support host cell growth and proliferation. Vacuolar ATPase subunits were strongly elevated, consistent with high densities of Wolbachia contained individually within vacuoles. Other differential level proteins had roles in ROS neutralization, protein modification/degradation and signaling, including hypothetical proteins whose functions in Wolbachia infection can potentially be manipulated by RNAi interference or transfection. Detection of flavivirus proteins supports further analysis of poorly understood, insect-specific flaviviruses and their potential interactions with Wolbachia, particularly in mosquitoes transinfected with Wolbachia. This study provides a framework for future attempts to manipulate pathways in insect cell lines that favor production of Wolbachia for eventual genetic manipulation, transformation and transinfection of vector species.

Lambs are Susceptible to Experimental Challenge with Spanish Goat Encephalitis Virus.

Spanish goat encephalitis virus (SGEV) is a member of the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae, and causes encephalomyelitis in goats. The aim of this study was to determine whether sheep are susceptible to experimental challenge with SGEV by two different routes. The results show that SGEV can infect sheep by both the subcutaneous and intravenous routes, resulting in neurological clinical disease with extensive and severe histological lesions in the central nervous system. Lambs challenged subcutaneously developed more severe lesions on the ipsilateral side of the brain, but the lesion morphology was similar irrespective of the route of challenge. The clinical presentation, pathogenesis, lesion morphology and distribution shows that SGEV is very similar to louping ill virus (LIV) and therefore any disease control plan must take into account any host species and SGEV vectors as potential reservoirs. Furthermore, discriminatory diagnostics need to be applied to any sheep or goat suspected of disease due to any flavivirus in areas where SGEV and LIV co-exist.

Insect-Specific Viruses: A Historical Overview and Recent Developments.

Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) have in recent years become a tremendous global health concern resulting in substantial human morbidity and mortality. With the widespread utilization of molecular technologies such as next-generation sequencing and the advancement of bioinformatics tools, a new age of viral discovery has commenced. Many of the novel agents being discovered in recent years have been isolated from mosquitoes and exhibit a highly restricted host range. Strikingly, these insect-specific viruses have been found to be members of viral families traditionally associated with human arboviral pathogens, including but not limited to the families Flaviviridae, Togaviridae, Reoviridae, and Bunyaviridae. These agents therefore present novel opportunities in the fields of viral evolution and viral/vector interaction and have tremendous potential as agents for biocontrol of vectors and or viruses of medical importance.

Yellow fever from Angola and Congo: a storm gathers.

In common with Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue, Yellow Fever (YF) is an arthropod-borne flavivirus. It is transmitted between humans and from monkeys by mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti (its principal vector), haemogogus and albopictus varieties. Three cycles of transmission may occur: urban; sylvatic; and intermediate. Recently, sub-Saharan Africa has seen the resurgence of this neglected disease. The current YF outbreak in Angola began in December 2015 in the capital Luanda and by October 2016 there had been > 4300 suspected cases, with 376 deaths (case fatality rate = 8.8%). A total of 884 were laboratory confirmed but it is likely that case numbers may be seriously underestimated. YF has subsequently quickly spread to neighbouring Congo and further afield to Kenya and also China, this being of grave concern as this was a first introduction of YF to Asia. YF has recently hit Brazil, with 555 suspected cases and 107 deaths reported by the end of January 2017. Extremely rapid unplanned urban migration in Africa by non-immune rural populations to already densely populated cities, where high densities of mosquitoes co-exist with city dwellers in makeshift flimsy accommodation, poses a ready recipe for an epidemic of massive proportion. In such conditions, with enormously strained public services existing among the most needy and vulnerable populations, mosquito control programmes are nearly impossible. YF in Congo is a tempest barely restrained. However, it is one that can be controlled by focused and committed international collaboration, by intense and united political will and by the marriage of old and trusted techniques: a vaccine almost a century old and some of the most modern technologies available to man.

TAM Receptors Are Not Required for Zika Virus Infection in Mice.

Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk (TAM) receptors are candidate entry receptors for infection with the Zika virus (ZIKV), an emerging flavivirus of global public health concern. To investigate the requirement of TAM receptors for ZIKV infection, we used several routes of viral inoculation and compared viral replication in wild-type versus Axl(-/-), Mertk(-/-), Axl(-/-)Mertk(-/-), and Axl(-/-)Tyro3(-/-) mice in various organs. Pregnant and non-pregnant mice treated with interferon-α-receptor (IFNAR)-blocking (MAR1-5A3) antibody and infected subcutaneously with ZIKV showed no reliance on TAMs for infection. In the absence of IFNAR-blocking antibody, adult female mice challenged intravaginally with ZIKV showed no difference in mucosal viral titers. Similarly, in young mice that were infected with ZIKV intracranially or intraperitoneally, ZIKV replication occurred in the absence of TAM receptors, and no differences in cell tropism were observed. These findings indicate that, in mice, TAM receptors are not required for ZIKV entry and infection.

The Natural Product Cavinafungin Selectively Interferes with Zika and Dengue Virus Replication by Inhibition of the Host Signal Peptidase.

Flavivirus infections by Zika and dengue virus impose a significant global healthcare threat with no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved vaccination or specific antiviral treatment available. Here, we present the discovery of an anti-flaviviral natural product named cavinafungin. Cavinafungin is a potent and selectively active compound against Zika and all four dengue virus serotypes. Unbiased, genome-wide genomic profiling in human cells using a novel CRISPR/Cas9 protocol identified the endoplasmic-reticulum-localized signal peptidase as the efficacy target of cavinafungin. Orthogonal profiling in S. cerevisiae followed by the selection of resistant mutants pinpointed the catalytic subunit of the signal peptidase SEC11 as the evolutionary conserved target. Biochemical analysis confirmed a rapid block of signal sequence cleavage of both host and viral proteins by cavinafungin. This study provides an effective compound against the eukaryotic signal peptidase and independent confirmation of the recently identified critical role of the signal peptidase in the replicative cycle of flaviviruses.

Cross-reactive dengue human monoclonal antibody prevents severe pathologies and death from Zika virus infections.

Zika virus (ZIKV) infections have been linked with neurological complications and congenital Zika syndrome. Given the high level of homology between ZIKV and the related flavivirus dengue virus (DENV), we investigated the level of cross-reactivity with ZIKV using a panel of DENV human mAbs. A majority of the mAbs showed binding to ZIKV virions, with several exhibiting neutralizing capacities against ZIKV in vitro. Three of the best ZIKV-neutralizing mAbs were found to recognize diverse epitopes on the envelope (E) glycoprotein: the highly conserved fusion-loop peptide, a conformation-specific epitope on the E monomer, and a quaternary epitope on the virion surface. The most potent ZIKV-neutralizing mAb (SIgN-3C) was assessed in 2 type I interferon receptor-deficient (IFNAR-/-) mouse models of ZIKV infection. Treatment of adult nonpregnant mice with SIgN-3C rescued mice from virus-induced weight loss and mortality. The SIgN-3C variant with Leu-to-Ala mutations in the Fc region (SIgN-3C-LALA) did not induce antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) in vitro but provided similar levels of protection in vivo. In pregnant ZIKV-infected IFNAR-/- mice, treatment with SIgN-3C or SIgN-3C-LALA significantly reduced viral load in the fetal organs and placenta and abrogated virus-induced fetal growth retardation. Therefore, SIgN-3C-LALA holds promise as a ZIKV prophylactic and therapeutic agent.

Phylogenetic Insight into Zika and Emerging Viruses for a Perspective on Potential Hosts.

Global viral diversity is substantial, but viruses that contribute little to the public health burden or to agricultural damage receive minimal attention until a seemingly unimportant virus becomes a threat. The Zika virus (ZIKV) illustrated this, as there was limited information and awareness of the virus when it was identified as a public health emergency in February 2016. Predicting which virus may pose a future threat is difficult. This is in part because significant knowledge gaps in the basic biology and ecology of an emerging virus can impede policy development, delay decision making, and hinder public health action. We suggest using a phylogenetic framework of pathogens and their infected host species for insight into which animals may serve as reservoirs. For example, examining flaviviruses closely related to ZIKV, the phylogenetic framework indicates New World monkeys are the most likely candidates to be potential reservoirs for ZIKV. Secondarily, mammals that are in close proximity to humans should be considered because of the increased opportunity for pathogen exchange. The increase in human-mediated environmental change is accelerating the probability of another previously overlooked virus becoming a significant concern. By investing in basic science research and organizing our knowledge into an evolutionary framework, we will be better prepared to respond to the next emerging infectious disease.

Functional Information Stored in the Conserved Structural RNA Domains of Flavivirus Genomes.

The genus Flavivirus comprises a large number of small, positive-sense single-stranded, RNA viruses able to replicate in the cytoplasm of certain arthropod and/or vertebrate host cells. The genus, which has some 70 member species, includes a number of emerging and re-emerging pathogens responsible for outbreaks of human disease around the world, such as the West Nile, dengue, Zika, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and tick-borne encephalitis viruses. Like other RNA viruses, flaviviruses have a compact RNA genome that efficiently stores all the information required for the completion of the infectious cycle. The efficiency of this storage system is attributable to supracoding elements, i.e., discrete, structural units with essential functions. This information storage system overlaps and complements the protein coding sequence and is highly conserved across the genus. It therefore offers interesting potential targets for novel therapeutic strategies. This review summarizes our knowledge of the features of flavivirus genome functional RNA domains. It also provides a brief overview of the main achievements reported in the design of antiviral nucleic acid-based drugs targeting functional genomic RNA elements.

Fatal Outcome of European Tick-borne Encephalitis after Vaccine Failure.

Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It is endemic in Switzerland with 200-250 notified cases annually. Active immunization is effective for persons in all age groups. Vaccine failure is rare, in particular after a completed vaccination course. Here, we describe the case of 67-year-old man with a fatal outcome despite vaccination. The diagnosis was confirmed by extensive postmortem analyses. The diagnostic challenges of vaccine failure in tick-borne encephalitis and the dynamics of the immune response in vaccination breakthrough are discussed.

Synergistic Internal Ribosome Entry Site/MicroRNA-Based Approach for Flavivirus Attenuation and Live Vaccine Development.

The recent emergence of Zika virus underscores the need for new strategies for a rapid development of safe flavivirus vaccines. Using another flavivirus (Langat virus [LGTV]) that belongs to the group of tick-borne flaviviruses as a model, we describe a dual strategy for virus attenuation which synergistically accesses the specificity of microRNA (miRNA) genome targeting and the effectiveness of internal ribosome entry site (IRES) insertion. To increase the stability and immunogenicity of bicistronic LGTVs, we developed a novel approach in which the capsid (C) protein gene was relocated into the 3' noncoding region (NCR) and expressed under translational control from an IRES. Engineered bicistronic LGTVs carrying multiple target sequences for brain-specific miRNAs were stable in Vero cells and induced adaptive immunity in mice. Importantly, miRNA-targeted bicistronic LGTVs were not pathogenic for either newborn mice after intracranial inoculation or adult immunocompromised mice (SCID or type I interferon receptor knockout) after intraperitoneal injection. Moreover, bicistronic LGTVs were restricted for replication in tick-derived cells, suggesting an interruption of viral transmission in nature by arthropod vectors. This approach is suitable for reliable attenuation of many flaviviruses and may enable development of live attenuated flavivirus vaccines.IMPORTANCE The recent emergence of Zika virus underscores the need for new strategies for a rapid development of safe flavivirus vaccines. Allied separately attenuating approaches based on (i) microRNA genome targeting and (ii) internal ribosome entry site insertion are not sufficient for relievable attenuation of neurotropic flavivirus pathogenesis. Here, we describe a novel dual strategy that combines the specificity of miRNA-based and the effectiveness of IRES-based attenuating approaches, allowing us to overcome these critical limitations. This developed approach provides a robust platform for reliable attenuation of many flaviviruses and may enable development of live flavivirus vaccines.

Erratum for Roth et al., "Flavivirus Infection Uncouples Translation Suppression from Cellular Stress Responses".

Tissue tropisms, infection kinetics, histologic lesions, and antibody response of the MR766 strain of Zika virus in a murine model.

The appearance of severe Zika virus (ZIKV) disease in the most recent outbreak has prompted researchers to respond through the development of tools to quickly characterize transmission and pathology. We describe here another such tool, a mouse model of ZIKV infection and pathogenesis using the MR766 strain of virus that adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding ZIKV kinetics in small animal models.

Flavivirus cross-reactivity, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and hematopoietic stem cell transplant patient: A comment.

The case report by Raboni et al.(1) on "Flavivirus cross-reactivity, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), and hematopoietic stem cell transplant patient" is very interesting. The authors noted that "the presence of anti-dengue virus (DENV) immunoglobulin-G in donor serum led to the hypothesis that antibodies from the donor could have enhanced the severity of the Zika virus (ZIKV) infection" and mentioned "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." (1) In fact, the screening for flavivirus might be useful in endemic area. Nevertheless, the hypothesis by Raboni et al.(1) might not be supported by any observation in the present case. It cannot be proven that GBS in the present case is caused by a flavirus or both viruses. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Zika virus: an epidemiological update.

First Neonatal Demise with Travel-Associated Zika Virus Infection in the United States of America.

Zika virus is increasingly recognized as a fetal pathogen worldwide. We describe the first case of neonatal demise with travel-associated Zika virus infection in the United States of America, including a novel prenatal ultrasound finding. A young Latina presented to our health care system in Southeast Texas for prenatal care at 23 weeks of gestation. Fetal Dandy-Walker malformation, asymmetric cerebral ventriculomegaly, single umbilical artery, hypoechoic fetal knee, dorsal foot edema, and mild polyhydramnios were noted upon initial screening prenatal sonography at 26 weeks. A growth-restricted, microcephalic, and arthrogrypotic infant was delivered alive at 36 weeks but died within an hour despite resuscitation. The neonatal karyotype was normal. Flavivirus IgM antibodies were identified in the serum of the puerpera, once she disclosed that she had traveled from El Salvador to Texas in the early second trimester. Zika virus was identified in the umbilical cord and neonatal brain. Fetal arthritis may precede congenital arthrogryposis in cases of Zika virus infection and may be detectable by prenatal sonography. Physician and health care system vigilance is required to optimally address the significant and enduring Zika virus global health threat.

High levels of local inter- and intra-host genetic variation of West Nile virus and evidence of fine-scale evolutionary pressures.

West Nile virus (WNV; Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) has been endemic in New York State (NYS) since its 1999 introduction, yet prevalence in Culex mosquitoes varies substantially over small spatial and temporal scales. It is unclear if viral genetics plays a role in this variability, as genetic and phenotypic characterization on local scales has generally been lacking. In addition, intrahost diversity of circulating strains have not been fully characterized despite the documented role of minority variants in viral fitness and virulence. In an effort to characterize WNV variability within epidemiologically relevant scales, we performed phylogenetic analyses on NYS isolates from 1999 to 2012. In addition, we performed full-genome, deep-sequencing and genetic analyses on 15 WNV strains isolated in 2012 from Cx. pipiens in an endemic focus of Suffolk County, NY. Our results indicate continued evolution and seasonal maintenance in NYS, yet also widespread mixing and high levels of genetic diversity within geographic foci and individual seasons. Well supported local clusters with shared amino acid differences were identified and suggest local evolutionary pressures and the potential for phenotypic variability. Intrahost diversity of focal isolates was also high, with polymorphism at levels >1.0% identified in approximately 10% of the WNV genome. Although most minority mutations were unique, mutational hotspots shared among local isolates were identified, particularly in C, NS1 and NS2A genes. The most polymorphic region, positions 3198-3388 of the NS1 gene, was comprised predominately of non-synonymous mutations, suggesting a selective advantage for amino acid diversity in this region.

Monoclonal Antibody Against Premembrane Viral Protein of Avian Tembusu Virus.

Premembrane (prM) is a viral protein of flavivirus, which is important for the generation of infectious virion and for virus infection to the host. However, the biological properties and function of the prM of Avian Tembusu virus (ATMUV) have scarcely been studied to date. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are a powerful tool for functional analysis of viral protein. To produce a mAb against prM protein of ATMUV, the prM gene sequence was amplified by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and cloned into the prokaryotic expression vector pET-28a (+). The recombinant prM protein was successfully expressed in BL21 (DE3). Using the purified prM as immunogen in mice, three hybridoma cells secreting mAbs against prM protein were obtained. These mAbs showed a strong reaction with ATMUV-infected DF-1 cells and pEGFP-C3-prM transfected 293-T cells in both Western blotting analysis and immunofluorescence assay. The mAbs developed in this study will be useful tools for analysis of the prM protein functions on ATMUV infection and the interaction between prM and its host molecules.