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Virology, 1 February 2018

Sandra Bos, Wildriss Viranaicken, Jonathan Turpin, Chaker El-Kalamouni, Marjolaine Roche, Pascale Krejbich-Trotot, Philippe Desprès, Gilles Gadea
Mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) recently emerged in South Pacific islands and Americas where large epidemics were documented. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of the structural proteins C, prM and E in the permissiveness of human host cells to epidemic strains of ZIKV. To this end, we evaluated the capacity of the epidemic strain BeH819015 to infect epithelial A549 and neuronal SH-SY5Y cells in comparison to the African historical MR766 strain. For that purpose, we generated a molecular clone of BeH819015 and a chimeric clone of MR766 which contains the BeH819015 structural protein region. We showed that ZIKV containing BeH819015 structural proteins was much less efficient in cell-attachment leading to a reduced susceptibility of A549 and SH-SY5Y cells to viral infection. Our data illustrate a previously underrated role for C, prM, and E in ZIKV epidemic strain ability to initiate viral infection in human host cells.