Chikungunya Virus Infects the Heart and Induces Heart-Specific Transcriptional Changes in an Immunodeficient Mouse Model of Infection

Rose M. Langsjoen, Yiyang Zhou, Richard J. Holcomb, Andrew L. Routh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted pathogen in family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus. Although CHIKV is well known for its ability to cause debilitating rheumatoid-like arthritis, it has been also been observed to cause cardiovascular symptoms such as arrhythmias. Here, using samples from a previous study, we sequenced RNA from serum, kidney, skeletal muscle, and cardiac muscle from CHIKV- and mock-infected IFN-aR2/2 mice using two sequencing techniques to investigate heart-specific changes in virus mutational profiles and host gene expression. Mutation rates were similar across muscle tissues although heart tissue carried heart-specific CHIKV minority variants, one of which had a coding change in the nsP3 gene and another in the 39UTR. Importantly, heart-specific transcriptional changes included differential expression of genes critical for ion transport and muscle contraction. These results demonstrate that CHIKV replicates in the hearts of immunodeficient mice and induce heart-specific mutations and host responses with implications for cardiac pathologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume106
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Parasitology

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