Project 1 is focused on understanding how Dengue virus (DENV), West Nile virus (WNV), and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) are recognized by the host cell to trigger innate immune and inflammatory responses, and on defining how these cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic responses synergize to control infection. DENV, WNV, and JEV are genetically related flaviviruses and among the most important arthropod-borne viruses globally. These viruses are continually emerging and can cause severe hemorrhagic (DENV) or neurological disease (WNV and JEV) in humans. There is no approved antiviral therapeutic agent available for treatment of flavivirus infections. Moreover, there are no approved vaccines against DENV or WNV infection forthe billions of at-risk people, and the current JEV vaccines demonstrate limited durability of protection. Our preliminary studies indicate that susceptibility to flavivirus infection is controlled by innate immune/type I interferon (IFN) defenses triggered by pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) recognition of flavivirus RNA by RlG-l-like receptors (RLRs), RIG-I and MDA5. Additionally, we have identified a major role forthe Nod-like receptor protein (NLRP)3 in inflammasome signaling/IL-lbeta production in the virus-induced inflammatory response. These studies show that viral triggering of RLR and NLRP3 signaling pathways links innate immune and inflammatory responses to suppress flavivirus infection. The studies in this proposal will (1) Identify the viral PAMPs that trigger RLR signaling of innate immunity during DENV, WNV, and JEV infection;(2) Define the trigger(s) of NLRP3 activation and IL-1 D production by the neurotropic flaviviruses, WNV and JEV;and (3) Determine the molecular mechanisms of linkage and effector actions of innate immune/lFN responses and IL-lbeta inflammatory responses that control flavivirus infection

Public Health Relevance

Dengue virus. West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis virus are members of a family that are the leading cause of mosquito-transmitted viral disease. These viruses continue to emerge and spread globally. Our studies will assess the virus and host interactions that regulate the innate immune and inflammatory responses to infection, and will reveal novel targets for the development of therapeutics against flaviviruses

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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University of Washington
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