Dynamic viral dissemination in mice infected with yellow fever virus strain 17D

Andrea K Erickson, Julie K Pfeiffer
Journal of Virology 2013, 87 (22): 12392-7
Arboviruses such as yellow fever virus (YFV) are transmitted between arthropod vectors and vertebrate hosts. While barriers limiting arbovirus population diversity have been observed in mosquitoes, whether barriers exist in vertebrate hosts is unclear. To investigate whether arboviruses encounter bottlenecks during dissemination in the vertebrate host, we infected immunocompetent mice and immune-deficient mice lacking alpha/beta interferon (IFN-α/β) receptors (IFNAR⁻/⁻ mice) with a pool of genetically marked viruses to evaluate dissemination and host barriers. We used the live attenuated vaccine strain YFV-17D, which contains many mutations compared with virulent YFV. We found that intramuscularly injected immunocompetent mice did not develop disease and that viral dissemination was restricted. Conversely, 32% of intramuscularly injected IFNAR⁻/⁻ mice developed disease. By following the genetically marked viruses over time, we found broad dissemination in IFNAR⁻/⁻ mice followed by clearance. The patterns of viral dissemination were similar in mice that developed disease and mice that did not develop disease. Unlike our previous results with poliovirus, these results suggest that YFV-17D encounters no major barriers during dissemination within a vertebrate host in the absence of the type I IFN response.

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