Zika virus particles. Image: CDC / Cynthia Goldsmith

PNAS Publishes Zika Study from Racaniello and Vallee Labs

Zika virus affect on mouse brain development featured in top scientific journal

November 22, 2017
PNAS - Fig. 6. Neuronal migration is impaired during ZIKV infection.
Neuronal migration is impaired during ZIKV infection. (Rosenfeld AB, Doobin DJ, et.al,. 2017)

A paper co-authored by scientists and faculty from the Racaniello Laboratory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Vallee Laboratory in Department of Pathology and Cell Biology was published in the Fall/Winter 2017 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The study, titled "Replication of early and recent Zika virus isolates throughout mouse brain development" examines how "ZIKV replicates across different embryonic developmental stages, and viral infection can disrupt proper brain development leading to congenital CNS complications," (Rosenfeld, Doobin, 2017).

Research scientist Amy Rosenfeld, PhD became interested in studying Zika by using tools that are usually reserved for examining neurotropic viruses, like enterovirus D68. Partnering with MD/PhD student David Doobin, PhD, Dr. Vincent Racaniello, and Dr. Richard Vallee, Vice-Chair of Cell Biology, the team made the important finding that the initial 1947 Ugandan Zika Virus isolate infects developing brain neurons. Therefore, even though Zika neurotropism has only recently been obseved, the virus has likely been affecting fetal development for the past 70 years. This project was supported by grants from the NIH.

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Cell Biology


Rosenfeld, A. B., Doobin, D. J., Warren, A. L., Racaniello, V. R., & Vallee, R. B. (2017). Replication of early and recent Zika virus isolates throughout mouse brain development. PNAS Early Edition, 1-6. doi:10.1101/177816