1887

Abstract

Most flaviviruses are transmitted horizontally between vertebrate hosts by haematophagous arthropods. Others exhibit host ranges restricted to vertebrates or arthropods. Vertebrate-specific flaviviruses are commonly referred to as no-known-vector (NKV) flaviviruses and can be separated into bat- and rodent-associated NKV flaviviruses. Rio Bravo virus (RBV) is one of eight recognized bat-associated NKV (B-NKV) flaviviruses. Studies designed to identify the genetic determinants that condition the host range restriction of B-NKV flaviviruses have never been performed. To investigate whether the host range restriction occurs at the level of attachment or entry, chimeric flaviviruses were created by inserting the pre-membrane and envelope protein genes of RBV into the genetic backbones of yellow fever virus (YFV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), two mosquito-borne flaviviruses associated with human disease. The chimeric viruses infected both vertebrate and mosquito cells. In vertebrate cells, all viruses produced similar mean peak titres, but the chimeric viruses grew more slowly than their parental viruses during early infection. In mosquito cells, the chimeric virus of YFV and RBV grew more slowly than YFV at early post-inoculation time points, but reached a similar mean peak titre. In contrast, the chimeric virus of ZIKV and RBV produced a mean peak titre that was approximately 10-fold lower than ZIKV. The chimeric virus of YFV and RBV produced an intermediate plaque phenotype, while the chimeric virus of ZIKV and RBV produced smaller plaques than both parental viruses. To conclude, we provide evidence that the structural glycoproteins of RBV permit entry into both mosquito and vertebrate cells, indicating that the host range restriction of B-NKV flaviviruses is mediated by a post-attachment/entry event.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Award 406531)
    • Principle Award Recipient: JermiliaCharles
  • National Institutes of Health (Award R01AI114720)
    • Principle Award Recipient: BradJ Blitvich
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2021-09-06
2021-09-23
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