Zika Infected Individuals Have Higher Levels of Phospholipids

Zika vaccine candidates remain in clinical studies
Zika infection while pregnant causes health risk
by Luis Henao
Worldwide (Zika News)

The reemergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) as a global health threat in 2022 has highlighted the unmet need for ZIKV-specific vaccines.

The peer-review journal Nature Communications recently published a study focused on how ZIKV infects dendritic cells (DC), which have pivotal functions in activating innate and adaptive antiviral responses.

However, the mechanisms by which DC function is subverted to establish ZIKV infection are unclear, stated these California-based researchers on September 12, 2022.

They developed a genomics profiling method that enables discrete analysis of ZIKV-infected versus neighboring, uninfected primary human DCs to increase the sensitivity and specificity with which ZIKV-modulated pathways can be identified.

The study's results show that ZIKV infection specifically increases the expression of genes enriched for lipid metabolism-related functions.

ZIKV infection also increases the recruitment of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) transcription factors to lipid gene promoters, while pharmacologic inhibition or genetic silencing of SREBP2 suppresses ZIKV infection of DCs.

This new data identifies SREBP2-activated transcription as a mechanism for promoting ZIKV infection amenable to therapeutic targeting.

The results of the present study, together with our earlier analysis of ZIKV infection of macrophages, show that accurate identification of cellular responses to viral infection can be obscured when infected and bystander cells are analyzed together.

In summary, 'we performed unbiased genomic profiling of pure populations of ZIKV-infected moDCs and demonstrated that ZIKV infection upregulates a small set of genes that are highly enriched for lipid biosynthetic enzymes,' wrote these researchers.

This research was supported by a Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and others. The study authors declared no competing interests.

Zika vaccine candidates are posted at ZikaNews.com/Vaccines.

ZikaNews publishes fact-checked, research-based news manually curated for mobile readers.

Article by
Donald Hackett