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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Apr 19;20(8). pii: E1936. doi: 10.3390/ijms20081936.

Phenotypic and Genotypic Characterization of West Nile Virus Isolate 2004Hou3.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. ronca@bcm.edu.
2
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. rodion.gorchakov@gmail.com.
3
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. rberry@bcm.edu.
4
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. Rojelio.Alvarado@bcm.edu.
5
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. sm22@bcm.edu.
6
Department of Pediatrics, National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA. kmurray@bcm.edu.

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is an arbovirus with important public health implications globally. This study characterizes a viral isolate, 2004Hou3, in comparison with the NY99 strain from the original WNV outbreak in New York, USA. NextGen sequencing was used to compare the viral isolates genetically, while wild-type C57/BL6 mice were used to compare pathogenicity and viral persistence. Significant differences in survival and clinical presentations were noted, with minor genetic variations between the two strains potentially offering an explanation. One notable difference is that 5 of 35 mice infected with the 2004Hou3 strain developed hind limb flaccid paralysis, suggesting its possible use as a small animal pathogenesis model for this clinical characteristic often observed in human WN neuroinvasive disease patients but not reported in other animal models of infection. Overall, this study suggests that 2004Hou3 is a less pathogenic strain with potential for use in long-term outcome studies using small animal models.

KEYWORDS:

2004Hou3; West Nile virus; animal model; arboviruses; molecular virology

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