Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has received global attention due to the series of large-scale outbreaks in different parts of the world including Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, India and South-East Asia. The appearance of many unusual severe manifestations including neurological disorders was reported in post resurgence epidemics with implication of novel East Central South African (ECSA) genotype with E1:A226V mutation. The molecular mechanism of CHIKV neuropathogenesis is not yet understood and very little is known about the host-pathogen interactions. In the present study replication kinetics and innate immune response of ECSA genotype of CHIKV with and without A226V mutation were determined in mouse neuroblastoma cell line (N2a). The 226V mutant strain was more replication competent in N2a cells with a peak titer of 108PFU/ml compared to 106PFU/ml for A226 virus. Besides, the 226V mutant virus showed relatively less induction of antiviral genes i.e. IFN-β, OAS-3, MX-2, ISG-15 and Toll like receptors 3 and 7 as compared to non mutant strain (A226). Further pretreatment of N2a cells either with Poly I: C, IFN-β or TNF-α resulted in inhibition of CHIKV replication hence confirming the role of TLR mediated innate immune response in CHIKV pathogenesis. Differential regulation of TLRs and associated down stream antiviral genes might have attributed for increased pathogenesis of the 226V mutant novel ECSA genotype of CHIKV during the recent epidemics.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are thankful to Prof. (Dr.) M.P. Kaushik, Director, DRDE for his keen interest in this study. Ms. Raj Priya also acknowledges the fellowship and the contingency grant received from CSIR , India.
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- N2a cells