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Virus Res. 2006 Dec;122(1-2):28-34. Epub 2006 Jul 18.

Sindbis virus infection of two model insect cell systems--a comparative study.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Structural Biochemistry, Campus Box 7622, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


Sindbis, the prototype of the Alphaviruses causes mosquito-borne diseases in mammals and replicates in a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate cell cultures. This characteristic can be exploited to use the vast array of Drosophila genetic information available for investigations of the interaction of Sindbis virus with an alternate invertebrate host. For this purpose, a comparative study of Sindbis virus infection of Schnieder-2 Drosophila (S2) cells to cells of the mosquito Aedes albopictus (clone U4.4) was undertaken. After infection, vertebrate cells die within 24-48h, while invertebrate cell cultures survive an acute phase of infection and become persistently infected. In this study, infection of a model Drosophila system, S2 cells, was compared to U4.4 cells. Virus production, the time course of the establishment of persistence and changes in growth properties of the S2 cells upon infection, were studied in comparison to those of the U4.4 cells. S2 cells survived acute Sindbis infection without any significant cytopathology and continued to produce low levels of virus characteristic of persistently infected cells. S2 cells produced 10 PFU/cell on day 1 post-infection, which falls to 2 PFU/cell on day 2. This result is in contrast to U4.4 cells, which produce peak virus titer on day 2 post-infection and establish persistence by day 5. Onset of the persistent phase of infection of either U4.4 or S2 cells did not result in any change in morphology or growth characteristics. This study establishes S2 cells as an additional invertebrate model system to study the interactions of an invertebrate host with Sindbis virus.

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