An attenuated replication-competent chikungunya virus with a fluorescently tagged envelope

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Jul 31;12(7):e0006693. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006693. eCollection 2018 Jul.


Background: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the most common alphavirus infecting humans worldwide, causing acute and chronically debilitating arthralgia at a great economic expense.

Methodology/principal findings: To facilitate our study of CHIKV, we generated a mCherry tagged replication-competent chimeric virus, CHIKV 37997-mCherry. Single particle cryoEM demonstrated icosahedral organization of the chimeric virus and the display of mCherry proteins on virus surface. CHIKV 37997-mCherry is attenuated in both IFNαR knockout and wild-type mice. Strong anti-CHIKV and anti-mCherry antibody responses were induced in CHIKV 37997-mCherry infected mice.

Conclusions/significance: Our work suggests that chimeric alphaviruses displaying foreign antigen can serve as vaccines against both aphaviruses and other pathogens and diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chikungunya Fever / virology*
  • Chikungunya virus / genetics
  • Chikungunya virus / physiology*
  • Chikungunya virus / ultrastructure
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Female
  • Fluorescence
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / chemistry
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Red Fluorescent Protein
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication*


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins