Infectious DNAs derived from insect-specific flavivirus genomes enable identification of pre- and post-entry host restrictions in vertebrate cells

Thisun B.H. Piyasena, Yin X. Setoh, Jody Hobson-Peters, Natalee D. Newton, Helle Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Breeanna J. McLean, Laura J. Vet, Alexander A Khromykh, Roy A Hall

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Flaviviruses such as West Nile virus (WNV), dengue virus and Zika virus are mosquito-borne pathogens that cause significant human diseases. A novel group of insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFs), which only replicate in mosquitoes, have also been identified. However, little is known about the mechanisms of ISF host restriction. We report the generation of infectious cDNA from two Australian ISFs, Parramatta River virus (PaRV) and Palm Creek virus (PCV). Using circular polymerase extension cloning (CPEC) with a modified OpIE2 insect promoter, infectious cDNA was generated and transfected directly into mosquito cells to produce infectious virus indistinguishable from wild-type virus. When infectious PaRV cDNA under transcriptional control of a mammalian promoter was used to transfect mouse embryo fibroblasts, the virus failed to initiate replication even when cell entry steps were by-passed and the type I interferon response was lacking. We also used CPEC to generate viable chimeric viruses between PCV and WNV. Analysis of these hybrid viruses revealed that ISFs are also restricted from replication in vertebrate cells at the point of entry. The approaches described here to generate infectious ISF DNAs and chimeric viruses provide unique tools to further dissect the mechanisms of their host restriction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2940
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

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