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Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 7;9(1):2207. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04442-y.

Semen inhibits Zika virus infection of cells and tissues from the anogenital region.

Author information

1
Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081, Ulm, Germany.
2
Institute of Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081, Ulm, Germany.
3
Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, 89075, Ulm, Germany.
4
Department of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, Medical Faculty, Heidelberg University, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
5
Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, San Francisco, CA, 94158, USA.
6
Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, 94158, USA.
7
Klinik für Frauenheilkunde und Geburtshilfe, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081, Ulm, Germany.
8
Frauenklinik, Helios Amper Klinik, 85221, Dachau, Germany.
9
Department of Virology and Immunology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, 00014, Helsinki, Finland.
10
Department of Veterinary Biosciences, University of Helsinki, 00014, Helsinki, Finland.
11
Department of Neurology, Ulm University, 89081, Ulm, Germany.
12
German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Heidelberg Partner Site, Heidelberg University, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.
13
Chemistry, Biology, Modeling and Immunotherapy (CBMIT), CNRS, UMR8601, Laboratoire de Chimie et Biochimie Pharmacologiques et Toxicologiques, Université Paris Descartes, CICB Paris, 75006, Paris, France.
14
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Arbovirus and Hemorrhagic Fever Reference and Research, 20359, Hamburg, Germany.
15
German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Partner Site Hamburg-Luebeck-Borstel, 20359, Hamburg, Germany.
16
Institute of Molecular Virology, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081, Ulm, Germany. jan.muench@uni-ulm.de.
17
Core Facility Functional Peptidomics, Ulm University Medical Center, 89081, Ulm, Germany. jan.muench@uni-ulm.de.

Abstract

Zika virus (ZIKV) causes severe birth defects and can be transmitted via sexual intercourse. Semen from ZIKV-infected individuals contains high viral loads and may therefore serve as an important vector for virus transmission. Here we analyze the effect of semen on ZIKV infection of cells and tissues derived from the anogenital region. ZIKV replicates in all analyzed cell lines, primary cells, and endometrial or vaginal tissues. However, in the presence of semen, infection by ZIKV and other flaviviruses is potently inhibited. We show that semen prevents ZIKV attachment to target cells, and that an extracellular vesicle preparation from semen is responsible for this anti-ZIKV activity. Our findings suggest that ZIKV transmission is limited by semen. As such, semen appears to serve as a protector against sexual ZIKV transmission, despite the availability of highly susceptible cells in the anogenital tract and high viral loads in this bodily fluid.

PMID:
29880824
PMCID:
PMC5992203
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-04442-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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