Scientists illustrate how host cell responds to zika virus infection

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Aedes aegypti mosquito is the carrier or vector, responsible for transmitting Chikungunya, Zika fever and Dengue fever Credit: Pixabay

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) belonging to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae, which also includes a group of human pathogenic viruses such as dengue virus 1-4 (DENV 1-4), West Nile virus (WNV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), yellow fever virus (YFV), and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV).

In early 2015, a ZIKV infection outbreak was recognized in northeast Brazil, which posed a great threat to humans and public health. Many laboratories have since then, tried to determine the host factors that Zika virus relies on for growing and multiplying. However, questions regarding how host proteins are regulated during ZIKV infection at a protein level remain unknown.

Mosquitoes are epidemiologically important vectors for ZIKV, and effective restrictions of ZIKV replication in mosquitoes will be effective in controlling the spread of the virus.

To identify proteins and pathways involved in ZIKV life cycles in mosquito cells, a research group led by Prof. Xiao Gengfu from Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences did a quantitative proteomic analysis of ZIKV infected C6/36 cells.

The scientists quantified 3,544 host proteins, with 200 being differentially regulated. Bioinformatics analysis on regulated host proteins highlights several ZIKV-regulated biological processes.

Further research, indicated that ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) play roles in ZIKV entry process, and an FDA-approved inhibitor of the UPS, Bortezomib, can inhibit ZIKV infection in vivo.

Global view of host proteins regulated in ZIKV infected C6/36 cells. (Image by XIAO Gengfu)

This is the first, reported quantitative proteomic analysis of ZIKV-infected host cells. To better understand the mosquito cell response to ZIKV infection, a map was created. In addition, this study provides a candidate drug for the control of ZIKV infection in mosquitoes and treatment of ZIKV infection in patients.

The results have been published in Journal of Virology entitled Quantitative proteomic analysis of mosquito C6/36 cells reveals host proteins involved in Zika virus infection.”

This work was supported by Ministry of Science and Technology of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.