Poster Presentation Australian Society for Microbiology Annual Scientific Meeting 2018

A prostate cell line model for persistent Zika virus replication (#251)

Rhys Izuagbe 1 , Daniela Loessner , Liesel Stassen 1 , Francesca Frentiu 1
  1. Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Infection with Zika virus (ZIKV) can lead to congenital malformations in babies and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults.  ZIKV is a RNA virus from the Flaviviridae family and is predominantly transmitted by the mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.  Uniquely, the virus can also be sexually transmitted.  It can be detected in the semen of infected men for up to 6 months in some cases.  Recent work aimed at understanding sexual transmission has focused on the testes as a reservoir.  However, cases of ZIKV sexual transmission and persistent virus shedding from vasectomised men indicate that other reservoirs exist in the male reproductive tract.  The prostate is a strong candidate as a ZIKV niche, given its high secretory function and contribution to ejaculate.  Here, we develop a human prostate cell line model of persistent ZIKV replication, lasting in excess of 30 day and without causing cell death.  We also show differences in infection kinetics between clinically relevant, epidemic strains.  Additional work is underway to characterize host transcriptional response during ZIKV infection of the male reproductive tract.