Zika virus enhances monocyte adhesion and transmigration favoring viral dissemination to neural cells

Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 27;10(1):4430. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12408-x.


Zika virus (ZIKV) invades and persists in the central nervous system (CNS), causing severe neurological diseases. However the virus journey, from the bloodstream to tissues through a mature endothelium, remains unclear. Here, we show that ZIKV-infected monocytes represent suitable carriers for viral dissemination to the CNS using human primary monocytes, cerebral organoids derived from embryonic stem cells, organotypic mouse cerebellar slices, a xenotypic human-zebrafish model, and human fetus brain samples. We find that ZIKV-exposed monocytes exhibit higher expression of adhesion molecules, and higher abilities to attach onto the vessel wall and transmigrate across endothelia. This phenotype is associated to enhanced monocyte-mediated ZIKV dissemination to neural cells. Together, our data show that ZIKV manipulates the monocyte adhesive properties and enhances monocyte transmigration and viral dissemination to neural cells. Monocyte transmigration may represent an important mechanism required for viral tissue invasion and persistence that could be specifically targeted for therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Central Nervous System / virology
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Cerebellum / virology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Endothelium / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / pathology
  • Monocytes / virology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / virology
  • Organoids / metabolism
  • Organoids / pathology
  • Transendothelial and Transepithelial Migration / physiology*
  • Zebrafish
  • Zika Virus / pathogenicity*
  • Zika Virus / physiology*
  • Zika Virus Infection / metabolism*
  • Zika Virus Infection / pathology
  • Zika Virus Infection / virology


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules