Intra- And inter-cellular modeling of dynamic interaction between Zika virus and its naturally occurring defective viral genomes

Vadim Sharov, Veronica V. Rezelj, Vladimir V. Galatenko, Avi Titievsky, Julia Panov, Konstantin Chumakov, Raul Andino, Marco Vignuzzi, Leonid Brodsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Here, we examine in silico the infection dynamics and interactions of two Zika virus (ZIKV) genomes: one is the full-length ZIKV genome (wild type [WT]), and the other is one of the naturally occurring defective viral genomes (DVGs), which can replicate in the presence of the WT genome, appears under high-MOI (multiplicity of infection) passaging conditions, and carries a deletion encompassing part of the structural and NS1 protein-coding region. Ordinary differential equations (ODEs) were used to simulate the infection of cells by virus particles and the intracellular replication of the WT and DVG genomes that produce these particles. For each virus passage in Vero and C6/36 cell cultures, the rates of the simulated processes were fitted to two types of observations: virus titer data and the assembled haplotypes of the replicate passage samples. We studied the consistency of the model with the experimental data across all passages of infection in each cell type separately as well as the sensitivity of the model's parameters. We also determined which simulated processes of virus evolution are the most important for the adaptation of the WT and DVG interplay in these two disparate cell culture environments. Our results demonstrate that in the majority of passages, the rates of DVG production are higher inC6/36 cells than in Vero cells, which might result in tolerance and therefore drive the persistence of the mosquito vector in the context of ZIKV infection. Additionally, the model simulations showed a slower accumulation of infected cells under higher activation of the DVG-associated processes, which indicates a potential role of DVGs in virus attenuation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00977-21
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number22
StatePublished - 27 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Defective virus genomes
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intra- And inter-cellular modeling of dynamic interaction between Zika virus and its naturally occurring defective viral genomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this