Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has caused large-scale epidemics of fever, rash and arthritis since 2004. This unprecedented re-emergence has been associated with mutations in genes encoding structural envelope proteins, providing increased fitness in the secondary vector Aedes albopictus. In the 2008-2013 CHIKV outbreaks across Southeast Asia, an R82S mutation in non-structural protein 4 (nsP4) emerged early in Malaysia or Singapore and quickly became predominant. To determine whether this nsP4-R82S mutation provides a selective advantage in host cells, which may have contributed to the epidemic, the fitness of infectious clone-derived CHIKV with wild-type nsP4-82R and mutant nsP4-82S were compared in Ae. albopictus and human cell lines. Viral infectivity, dissemination and transmission in Ae. albopictus were not affected by the mutation when the two variants were tested separately. In competition, the nsP4-82R variant showed an advantage over nsP4-82S in dissemination to the salivary glands, but only in late infection (10 days). In human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) and embryonic kidney (HEK-293T) cell lines coinfected at a 1 : 1 ratio, wild-type nsP4-82R virus was rapidly outcompeted by nsP4-82S virus as early as one passage (3 days). In conclusion, the nsP4-R82S mutation provides a greater selective advantage in human cells than in Ae. albopictus, which may explain its apparent natural selection during CHIKV spread in Southeast Asia. This is an unusual example of a naturally occurring mutation in a non-structural protein, which may have facilitated epidemic transmission of CHIKV.
The mosquito-borne chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes chikungunya fever, with clinical presentations such as severe back and small joint pain, and debilitating arthritis associated with crippling pains that persist for weeks and even years. Although there are several studies to evaluate the efficacy of drugs against CHIKV, the treatment for chikungunya fever is mainly symptom-based and no effective licensed vaccine or antiviral are available. Here, we investigated the antiviral activity of three types of flavonoids against CHIKV in vitro replication. Three compounds: silymarin, quercetin and kaempferol were evaluated for their in vitro antiviral activities against CHIKV using a CHIKV replicon cell line and clinical isolate of CHIKV of Central/East African genotype. A cytopathic effect inhibition assay was used to determine their activities on CHIKV viral replication and quantitative reverse transcription PCR was used to calculate virus yield. Antiviral activity of effective compound was further investigated by evaluation of CHIKV protein expression using western blotting for CHIKV nsP1, nsP3, and E2E1 proteins. Briefly, silymarin exhibited significant antiviral activity against CHIKV, reducing both CHIKV replication efficiency and down-regulating production of viral proteins involved in replication. This study may have important consequence for broaden the chance of getting the effective antiviral for CHIKV infection.
Matched MeSH terms: Chikungunya virus/growth & development