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Distinct Molecular Mechanisms of Host Immune Response Modulation by Arenavirus NP and Z Proteins

Stott, Robert J.; Strecker, Thomas; Foster, Toshana L.

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Robert J. Stott

Thomas Strecker


Endemic to West Africa and South America, mammalian arenaviruses can cross the species barrier from their natural rodent hosts to humans, resulting in illnesses ranging from mild flu-like syndromes to severe and fatal haemorrhagic zoonoses. The increased frequency of outbreaks and associated high fatality rates of the most prevalent arenavirus, Lassa, in West African countries, highlights the significant risk to public health and to the socio-economic development of affected countries. The devastating impact of these viruses is further exacerbated by the lack of approved vaccines and effective treatments. Differential immune responses to arenavirus infections that can lead to either clearance or rapid, widespread and uncontrolled viral dissemination are modulated by the arenavirus multifunctional proteins, NP and Z. These two proteins control the antiviral response to infection by targeting multiple cellular pathways; and thus, represent attractive targets for antiviral development to counteract infection. The interplay between the host immune responses and viral replication is a key determinant of virus pathogenicity and disease outcome. In this review, we examine the current understanding of host immune defenses against arenavirus infections and summarise the host protein interactions of NP and Z and the mechanisms that govern immune evasion strategies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 16, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 21, 2020
Publication Date Jul 1, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2020
Publicly Available Date Sep 16, 2020
Journal Viruses
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 7
Article Number 784
Keywords Virology; Infectious Diseases
Public URL
Publisher URL


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