Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences
In recent years, Zika virus (ZIKV) has garnered worldwide attention due to its epidemic spread throughout the Americas and due to the newly recognized link between ZIKV infection and neurological diseases, including microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. ZIKV is a mosquito-borne member of the genus Flavivirus, which includes the other prominent human pathogens Japanese encephalitis virus, West Nile virus, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus. Many questions about the biology of ZIKV and how it causes disease remain unanswered. Furthermore, there currently are no vaccines or licensed antiviral drugs available to treat ZIKV infection. The goal of this study was to create new tools to aid in ZIKV research and in the creation of new therapies for ZIKV infection. To accomplish this, we created two recombinant ZIKVs–one expressing a green fluorescent protein reporter gene and the other expressing a luciferase reporter gene. These additional genes will allow us to easily visualize infected cells and to precisely track levels of viral replication over time, thereby facilitating new experimental approaches and providing a means to gain insights about ZIKV. We believe that these two new versions of ZIKV will prove to be useful tools in the urgent task of better understanding how ZIKV causes disease and its links to other complications, as well as in the process of developing and testing new treatments to combat ZIKV infection.
Woolley, Michael E., "Development and Characterization of Reporter-Expressing Zika Viruses" (2018). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7225.
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