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Basic information and current topics regarding Flaviviridae
Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) causes acute encephalopathy and has a high mortality rate (30-50%) associated with it. In order to reduce this rate, we must first pursue a better understanding of how the host responds to JEV. Using microarrays for wide analysis of expression patterns throughout the course of JEV infection is a most promising method for understanding the host response. A 2011 article published in Virology Journal, Transcriptomic Profile of Host Response in Japanese Encephalitis Virus Infection, researchers took advantage of this method and infected week-old BALB/c mice with JEV, sacrificing them at regular intervals post-infection.
In brief, several genes were found to be over-expressed and eluded to specific and important origins of host responses—specifically the fatal inflammation response. The article suggests that “aggravated CNS inflammation may be the cause of disease severity.” This is not a very bold statement, infact, it could be considered as common knowledge. The following explanation of this phenomenon, however, represents a milestone in JEV treatment—as a detailed and well-performed microarray with accurately predicted targets gave them insight towards the specific pathways, genes, and cell-surface receptors which they presented to the world in an open-access journal.
The world of flavivirus was not quite turned upside-down by these discoveries, but it opened the doors for others to do just that. These two researchers provided solid data, future targets for symptom management, and a new mouse model that allows for accurate JEV investigation via a natural route of infection.
Nimesh Gupta and P v Lakshmana Rao. (2011). Transcriptomic profile of host response in Japanese encephalitis virus infection. Virology Journal 2011, 8:92 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-92