Zika Virus Induces Tumor Necrosis Factor-Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL)-Mediated Apoptosis in Human Neural Progenitor Cells

Jae Kyung Lee, Ji Ae Kim, Soo Jin Oh, Eun Woo Lee, Ok Sarah Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Zika virus (ZIKV) remains as a public health threat due to the congenital birth defects the virus causes following infection of pregnant women. Congenital microcephaly is among the neurodevelopmental disorders the virus can cause in newborns, and this defect has been associated with ZIKV-mediated cytopathic effects in human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs). In this study, we investigated the cellular changes that occur in hNPCs in response to ZIKV (African and Asian lineages)-induced cytopathic effects. Transmission electron microscopy showed the progress of cell death as well as the formation of numerous vacuoles in the cytoplasm of ZIKV-infected hNPCs. Infection with both African and Asian lineages of ZIKV induced apoptosis, as demonstrated by the increased activation of caspase 3/7, 8, and 9. Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-1β) were also detected in ZIKV-infected hNPCs, while z-VAD-fmk-induced inhibition of cell death suppressed ZIKV-mediated cytokine production in a dose-dependent manner. ZIKV-infected hNPCs also displayed significantly elevated gene expression levels of the pro-apoptotic Bcl2-mediated family, in particular, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Furthermore, TRAIL signaling led to augmented ZIKV-mediated cell death and the knockdown of TRAIL-mediated signaling adaptor, FADD, resulted in enhanced ZIKV replication. In conclusion, our findings provide cellular insights into the cytopathic effects induced by ZIKV infection of hNPCs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number678
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 16


  • FADD
  • Zika virus
  • apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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