Development and characterization of recombinant virus generated from a New World Zika virus infectious clone

James Weger-Lucarelli, Nisha K. Duggal, Kristen Bullard-Feibelman, Milena Veselinovic, Hannah Romo, Chilinh Nguyen, Claudia Rückert, Aaron Brault, Richard A. Bowen, Mark Stenglein, Brian J. Geiss, Gregory D. Ebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV; family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus) is a rapidly expanding global pathogen that has been associated with severe clinical manifestations, including devastating neurological disease in infants. There are currently no molecular clones of a New World ZIKV available that lack significant attenuation, hindering progress toward understanding determinants of transmission and pathogenesis. Here we report the development and characterization of a novel ZIKV reverse genetics system based on a 2015 isolate from Puerto Rico (PRVABC59). We generated a two-plasmid infectious clone system from which infectious virus was rescued that replicates in human and mosquito cells with growth kinetics representative of wildtype ZIKV. Infectious clone-derived virus initiated infection and transmission rates in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes comparable to those of the primary isolate and displayed similar pathogenesis in AG129 mice. This infectious clone system provides a valuable resource to the research community to explore ZIKV molecular biology, vaccine development, antiviral development, diagnostics, vector competence, and disease pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01765-16
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Flavivirus
  • Infectious clones
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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