Yeast help identify cytopathic factors of Zika virus


Accumulating evidence implicates Zika virus (ZIKV) in pathogenesis of microcephaly in newborns and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. However, it remains unclear which viral proteins are responsible for these effects and what are the underlying mechanisms of their pathogenic activity. A recent paper by Drs. Zhao and Gallo, and their colleagues at University of Maryland in Baltimore used fission yeast for genome-wide analysis of ZIKV proteins. They demonstrated cytopathogenic activity for seven ZIKV proteins, anaC, C, prM, M, E, NS2B and NS4A. This activity was shown to be dependent on oxidative stress, and for NS4A they demonstrated involvement of the TOR stress-response pathway. Taken together, the findings presented in this paper provide the basis for further mechanistic studies that potentially can identify therapeutic means to treat neuro and immune complications of ZIKV infection.

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