Most alphaviruses are mosquito-borne and exhibit a broad host range, infecting many different vertebrates, including birds, rodents, equids, humans, and nonhuman primates. This ability of most alphaviruses to infect arthropods and vertebrates is essential for their maintenance in nature. Recently, a new alphavirus, Eilat virus (EILV), was described, and in contrast to all other mosquito-borne viruses, it is unable to replicate in vertebrate cell lines. Investigations into the nature of its host range restriction showed the inability of genomic EILV RNA to replicate in vertebrate cells. Here, we investigated whether the EILV host range restriction is present at the entry level and further explored the viral factors responsible for the lack of genomic RNA replication. Utilizing Sindbis virus (SINV) and EILV chimeras, we show that the EILV vertebrate host range restriction is also manifested at the entry level. Furthermore, the EILV RNA replication restriction is independent of the 3' untranslated genome region (UTR). Complementation experiments with SINV suggested that RNA replication is restricted by the inability of the EILV nonstructural proteins to form functional replicative complexes. These data demonstrate that the EILV host range restriction is multigenic, involving at least one gene from both nonstructural protein (nsP) and structural protein (sP) open reading frames (ORFs). As EILV groups phylogenetically within the mosquito-borne virus clade of pathogenic alphaviruses, our findings have important evolutionary implications for arboviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science