Viruses (Sep 2022)

Zika Virus Exploits Lipid Rafts to Infect Host Cells

  • Daniela Peruzzu,
  • Antonello Amendola,
  • Giulietta Venturi,
  • Valeria de Turris,
  • Giulia Marsili,
  • Claudia Fortuna,
  • Katia Fecchi,
  • Maria Cristina Gagliardi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 9
p. 2059


Read online

Several flaviviruses such as Hepatitis C virus, West Nile virus, Dengue virus and Japanese Encephalitis virus exploit the raft platform to enter host cells whereas the involvement of lipid rafts in Zika virus–host cell interaction has not yet been demonstrated. Zika virus disease is caused by a flavivirus transmitted by Aedes spp. Mosquitoes, although other mechanisms such as blood transfusion, sexual and maternal–fetal transmission have been demonstrated. Symptoms are generally mild, such as fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis, but neurological complications, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, have been associated to this viral infection. During pregnancy, it can cause microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities in the fetus, as well as pregnancy complications, representing a serious health threat. In this study, we show for the first time that Zika virus employs cell membrane lipid rafts as a portal of entry into Vero cells. We previously demonstrated that the antifungal drug Amphotericin B (AmphB) hampers a microbe–host cell interaction through the disruption of lipid raft architecture. Here, we found that Amphotericin B by the same mechanism of action inhibits both Zika virus cell entry and replication. These data encourage further studies on the off-label use of Amphotericin B in Zika virus infections as a new and alternate antiviral therapy.