Nature communications

The immunomodulating V and W proteins of Nipah virus determine disease course.

PMID 26105519


The viral determinants that contribute to Nipah virus (NiV)-mediated disease are poorly understood compared with other paramyxoviruses. Here we use recombinant NiVs (rNiVs) to examine the contributions of the NiV V and W proteins to NiV pathogenesis in a ferret model. We show that a V-deficient rNiV is susceptible to the innate immune response in vitro and behaves as a replicating non-lethal virus in vivo. Remarkably, rNiV lacking W expression results in a delayed and altered disease course with decreased respiratory disease and increased terminal neurological disease associated with altered in vitro inflammatory cytokine production. This study confirms the V protein as the major determinant of pathogenesis, also being the first in vivo study to show that the W protein modulates the inflammatory host immune response in a manner that determines the disease course.