Zika virus noncoding RNA suppresses apoptosis and is required for virus transmission by mosquitoes

Andrii Slonchak, Leon E. Hugo, Morgan E. Freney, Sonja Hall-Mendelin, Alberto A. Amarilla, Francisco J. Torres, Yin Xiang Setoh, Nias Y. G. Peng, Julian D. J. Sng, Roy A. Hall, Andrew F. van den Hurk, Gregor J. Devine (+1 others)
2020 Nature Communications  
Flaviviruses, including Zika virus (ZIKV), utilise host mRNA degradation machinery to produce subgenomic flaviviral RNA (sfRNA). In mammalian hosts, this noncoding RNA facilitates replication and pathogenesis of flaviviruses by inhibiting IFN-signalling, whereas the function of sfRNA in mosquitoes remains largely elusive. Herein, we conduct a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments to define the role of ZIKV sfRNA in infected Aedes aegypti employing viruses deficient in production of sfRNA.
more » ... oduction of sfRNA. We show that sfRNA-deficient viruses have reduced ability to disseminate and reach saliva, thus implicating the role for sfRNA in productive infection and transmission. We also demonstrate that production of sfRNA alters the expression of mosquito genes related to cell death pathways, and prevents apoptosis in mosquito tissues. Inhibition of apoptosis restored replication and transmission of sfRNA-deficient mutants. Hence, we propose anti-apoptotic activity of sfRNA as the mechanism defining its role in ZIKV transmission.
doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16086-y pmid:32371874 fatcat:a3ddp2ze3narhhs5gh3b6sg7uq