Duration of seminal Zika viral RNA shedding in immunocompetent mice inoculated with Asian and African genotype viruses


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Prior to the emergence of Asian genotype Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Western hemisphere, sexual transmission in humans was documented. Sexual transmission by African genotype ZIKVs has not been assessed in laboratory animal models, due to rapid and high mortality rates of immunodeficient mice following inoculation. To overcome these limitations, immunocompetent C57Bl/6 mice were used to longitudinally assess Asian and African genotype ZIKV sexual transmission potential. Furthermore, to determine if enhanced pathogenesis of African genotype ZIKVs is due to structural determinants, PRVABC59 prM/E was replaced with African MR766 prM/E (chimeric ZIKV). The African genotype and chimeric ZIKV elicited greater pathogenic effects in the male reproductive tract and generated higher viremias. Yet, the duration, magnitude and efficiency of seminal shedding of infectious virus and viral RNA were similar between chimeric-, African and Asian genotype ZIKVinoculated mice. These data show that increased male reproductive tract pathology does not increase sexual transmission potential.



Zika virus, Pathogenesis, Mouse model, Sexual transmission