Thérèse Atieh, Cécile Baronti, Xavier de Lamballerie, & Antoine Nougairède
Zika virus (ZIKV), a typical example of a re‐emerging pathogen, recently caused large outbreaks in Pacific islands and the Americas, associated with congenital diseases and neurological complications. Deciphering the natural history,ecology
and pathophysiology of this mosquito-borne pathogen requires effective reverse genetics tools. In the current study, using the bacterium-free ‘Infectious Subgenomic Amplicons’ (ISA) method, we generated and made available to the scientific community via the non-profit European Virus Archive collection, two simple and performing reverse genetics systems for ZIKV. One is based on an Asian ZIKV strain belonging to the outbreak lineage (French Polynesia 2013). The second was designed from the sequence of a low-passaged ZIKV African strain (Dakar 1984). Using the ISA procedure, we derived wild-type and a variety of specifically engineered ZIKVs in days (intra- and inter-lineage chimeras). Since they are based on low-passaged ZIKV strains, these engineered viruses provide ideal tools to study the effect of genetic changes observed in different evolutionary time-scales of ZIKV as well as pathophysiology of ZIKV infections.