Zika virus evolution during persistent infection in a prostate cell line model Francesca D. Frentiu1*, Rhys Izuagbe1, Daniela Loessner2 1Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, and School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia; 2Centre for Cancer and Inflammation, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London EC1M 6BQ, United Kingdom *Corresponding Author
Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a public health threat due to its propensity to cause neurological birth defects. ZIKV is a single-stranded RNA virus primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. Unusually for a vector-borne virus, ZIKV can also be transmitted from human to human via sexual contact. ZIKV can infect the male reproductive tract and establish prolonged infection, posing a danger to conception. The exact mechanism underlying viral persistence in reservoirs such as the prostate gland is not well understood. Here, we establish a human prostate cell line model of prolonged ZIKV infection. Using next-generation sequencing of ZIKV in cell cultures, we track how viral populations evolve over the course of infection. We also characterise the transcriptomic response of the host cells to persistent infection. Our results shed light on a poorly understood aspect of ZIKV biology, bridging evolutionary biology and public health.
Funding: Queensland University of Technology internal grant to F D Frentiu
Credits: None available.
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