Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Matthew Aliota Publishes Zika Paper in PLOS

April 10, 2018
Aliota, Matthew Zika PLOS One graph

The paper, "Molecularly barcoded Zika virus libraries to prove in vivo evolutionary dynamics," by Matthew Aliota, Dawn Dudley, Christina Newman, James Weger-Lucarelli, Laurel Stewart, Michelle Koenig, Meghan Breitbach, Andrea Weiler, Matthew Semler, Gabrielle Barry, Katie Zarbock, Amelia Haj, Ryan Moriarty, and David O'Connor discusses the complex dynamics of Zika virus infection in pregnancy and during transmission between the vertebrate hosts and mosquito vectors, which is critical for a thorough understanding of viral transmission, pathogenesis, immune evasion, and potential reservoir establishment.

Understanding the complex dynamics of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy and during transmission to and from vertebrate host and mosquito vector is critical for a thorough understanding of viral transmission, pathogenesis, immune evasion, and reservoir establishment. We sought to develop a virus model system for use in nonhuman primates and mosquitoes that allows for the genetic discrimination of molecularly cloned viruses. This “synthetic swarm” of viruses incorporates a molecular barcode that allows for tracking and monitoring individual viral lineages during infection. Here we infected rhesus macaques with this virus to study the dynamics of ZIKV infection in nonhuman primates as well as during mosquito infection/transmission. We found that the proportions of individual barcoded viruses remained relatively stable during acute infection in pregnant and nonpregnant animals. However, in a pregnant animal, the complexity of the virus population declined precipitously 8 days following infection, consistent with the timing of typical resolution of ZIKV in non-pregnant macaques and remained low for the subsequent duration of viremia.