Chikungunya virus induces a more moderate cytopathic effect in mosquito cells than in mammalian cells

Yong-Gang LiSurapee Anantapreecha


Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an alphavirus belonging to the Togaviridae family. Alphaviruses cause a chronic non-cytopathic infection in mosquito cells, while they develop a highly cytopathic infection in cells originating from various vertebrates. In this study, we compared the cytopathic effect (CPE) induced by CHIKV in Vero cells and a mosquito cell line, C6/36 cells. CPE and the virus titers were compared between the CHIKV-infected C6/36 and Vero cells. Apoptosis was measured by TUNEL assay, and the differences between the C6/36 and Vero cells were compared. CHIKV infection induced strong CPE and apoptosis in the Vero cells, but light CPE in the C6/36 cells. The virus titers produced in the C6/36 cells were much higher than those produced in the Vero cells. The reason CHIKV induced strong CPE is that this virus triggers strong apoptosis in Vero cells compared with C6/36 cells. CHIKV established a persistent infection in C6/36 cells after being passaged 20 times. CHIKV infection in mosquito cells was distinct from that in Vero cells. The cell and species specificity of CHIKV-induced cell death implies that the cellular and viral regulators involved in apoptosis may play an important role in determining the outcome of CHIKV i...Continue Reading


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Apoptosis is a specific process that leads to programmed cell death through the activation of an evolutionary conserved intracellular pathway leading to pathognomic cellular changes distinct from cellular necrosis