Zika virus induces astrocyte differentiation in neural stem cells

Olivia V. Lossia, Michael J. Conway, Maya O. Tree, Robert J. Williams, Stacy C. Goldthorpe, Bhairavi Srinageshwar, Gary L. Dunbar, Julien Rossignol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a rapidly emerging flavivirus that has been associated with a number of congenital neurological manifestations. Here, we show that ZIKV replicated efficiently in mouse neural stem cells (mNSCs). ZIKV infection caused a cytopathic effect without affecting cell viability, yet led to a significant decrease in the number of proteins secreted into mNSC supernatants. A gene expression array of neural stem cell progenitor and differentiation markers suggested that infection reduced the number of neuronal and oligodendrocyte progenitors while increasing the number of astrocyte progenitors. Infection in astrocytes increased transcription of key genes involved in the antiviral response. These data provide molecular and cellular evidence that ZIKV significantly alters neural development in the vertebrate host and that astrocyte differentiation may be a protective response that limits neuropathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Astrocyte
  • Differentiation
  • Neural stem cell
  • Neuron
  • Neuropathogenesis
  • Zika virus


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