MEM INST OSWALDO CRUZ, RIO DE JANEIRO, FAST TRACK
PAGES: DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760170386 Full paper
DIFFERENCES IN “IN VITRO” INFECTIVITY OF ZIKA VIRUS LINEAGES REVEALS CELLULAR PREFERENCE THAT COULD IMPLICATE IN OUTBREAK INTENSITY

Danillo Lucas Alves Esposito1,+, Marcela Carolina Pardinho Ferreira1, Flavia Masson de Moraes1, Beatriz dos Santos Ribeiro1, Michelli Romanoli Persona1, Benedito Antonio Lopes da Fonseca1

1Departamento de Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brasil.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that belongs to the Flaviviridae family. Most of ZIKV infections are asymptomatic and, when symptomatic, cause a mild febrile illness characterized by headache, myalgia, fever, rash and non-purulent conjunctivitis. Recently, in the Brazilian ZIKV outbreak more than 200,000 people were notified with the disease and some complications associated with this infection were identified.

OBJECTIVES Due to the rapid spread of the disease over Central and South America, the aim of this project was to determine differences in infection between an African strain (prototype MR766) and the strain circulating in Brazil (Asian lineage ZikaSPH2015).

METHODS Analysis of nucleotide and protein sequences of both strains was carried out in silico, by comparing their sequences and performing the prediction of the envelope protein structure. Comparative infection with both strains was performed in vitro using Aedes cell lines and the resulting viral progeny was quantified by RT-qPCR.

FINDINGS Although similar effects were observed with both cell lineages, ZikaSPH2015 strain had a better viral fitness in Aedes aegypti cells than in Ae. albopictus. Analysis of codon usage showed an increased usage of some codons in Ae. aegypti and ZikaSPH2015. Immune response evaluation showed fully heterologous protective antibodies, but cytokine gene expression demonstrated that MR766 induces a more intense immune response than ZikaSPH2015.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS The results presented here indicate that ZIKV Asian strain replicates more efficiently in Aedes aegypti cells, which may explain the higher intensity and distribution of this lineage outbreaks over the African strain ones. In addition, the Asian lineage might have a mechanism that interferes in antiviral response allowing for a prolonged viremia in some individuals leading to the severe clinical implications related to this infection.

+ Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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