Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes massive mosquito-borne epidemics among humans and decimates ruminants in which the mortality rate is about 1% and 10-30%, respectively. Morbidity in RVFV-infected humans is high largely due to the effects of hemorrhagic fever and encephalitis. This virus is native to sub-Saharan Africa; yet if this virus is introduced into the environment, virus transmission appears to occur whenever sheep and cattle are present with abundant mosquito populations. RVFV is a negative-strand RNA virus which belongs to the family Bunyaviridae, genus Phlebovirus, and contains tripartite-segmented genomes (S, M, and L). S-segment is the ambisense genome, where N and NSs genes are coded in an antiviral-sense and viral sense S-segment, respectively. The inhibition of host mRNA synthesis, which is induced by the binding of NSs protein to RNA polymerase II transcription factor TFIIH, is the primary reason for the host-protein shut-off in RVFV-infected cells. Development of a RVFV reverse genetics system, which has not been accomplished yet, is important for the study of viral replication mechanisms, host virus interaction, viral pathogenicity as well as vaccine evaluation and development.
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