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Semen inhibits Zika virus infection of cells and tissues from the anogenital region.

Nature communications (2018-06-09)
Janis A Müller, Mirja Harms, Franziska Krüger, Rüdiger Groß, Simone Joas, Manuel Hayn, Andrea N Dietz, Sina Lippold, Jens von Einem, Axel Schubert, Manuela Michel, Benjamin Mayer, Mirko Cortese, Karen S Jang, Nathallie Sandi-Monroy, Miriam Deniz, Florian Ebner, Olli Vapalahti, Markus Otto, Ralf Bartenschlager, Jean-Philippe Herbeuval, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Nadia R Roan, Jan Münch
ABSTRACT

Zika virus (ZIKV) causes severe birth defects and can be transmitted via sexual intercourse. Semen from ZIKV-infected individuals contains high viral loads and may therefore serve as an important vector for virus transmission. Here we analyze the effect of semen on ZIKV infection of cells and tissues derived from the anogenital region. ZIKV replicates in all analyzed cell lines, primary cells, and endometrial or vaginal tissues. However, in the presence of semen, infection by ZIKV and other flaviviruses is potently inhibited. We show that semen prevents ZIKV attachment to target cells, and that an extracellular vesicle preparation from semen is responsible for this anti-ZIKV activity. Our findings suggest that ZIKV transmission is limited by semen. As such, semen appears to serve as a protector against sexual ZIKV transmission, despite the availability of highly susceptible cells in the anogenital tract and high viral loads in this bodily fluid.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
DAPI, for nucleic acid staining
SAFC
MEM Non-essential Amino Acid Solution (100×), without L-glutamine, liquid, sterile-filtered, BioReagent, suitable for cell culture