1887

Abstract

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is responsible for large and recurrent outbreaks of acute febrile illness among humans and domesticated animals in Africa. It belongs to the family , genus , and its negative-stranded RNA genome consists of three segments. Here, we report the establishment and characterization of two different systems to rescue the RVFV wild-type strain ZH548. The first system is based on the BHK-21 cell clone BSR-T7/5, which stably expresses T7 RNA polymerase (T7 pol). Rescue of wild-type RVFV was achieved with three T7 pol-driven cDNA plasmids representing the viral RNA segments in the antigenomic sense. The second system involves 293T cells transfected with three RNA pol I-driven plasmids for the viral segments and two RNA pol II-driven support plasmids to express the viral polymerase components L and N. It is known that the 5′ triphosphate group of T7 pol transcripts strongly activates the antiviral interferon system via the intracellular RNA receptor RIG-I. Nonetheless, both the T7 pol and the pol I/II system were of similar efficiency. This was even true for the rescue of a RVFV mutant lacking the interferon antagonist nonstructural proteins. Further experiments demonstrated that the unresponsiveness of BHK-21 and BSR-T7/5 cells to T7 pol transcripts is most probably due to a deficiency in the RIG-I pathway. Our reverse genetics systems now enable us to manipulate the genome of RVFV and study its virulence mechanisms. Moreover, the finding that BHK-derived cell lines have a compromised RIG-I pathway may explain their suitability for propagating and rescuing a wide variety of viruses.

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2008-09-01
2020-07-16
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