Zika virus impacts extracellular vesicle composition and cellular gene expression in macaque early gestation trophoblasts

Sci Rep. 2022 May 5;12(1):7348. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-11275-9.


Zika virus (ZIKV) infection at the maternal-placental interface is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes including fetal demise and pregnancy loss. To determine how infection impacts placental trophoblasts, we utilized rhesus macaque trophoblast stem cells (TSC) that can be differentiated into early gestation syncytiotrophoblasts (ST) and extravillous trophoblasts (EVT). TSCs and STs, but not EVTs, were highly permissive to productive infection with ZIKV strain DAK AR 41524. The impact of ZIKV on the cellular transcriptome showed that infection of TSCs and STs increased expression of immune related genes, including those involved in type I and type III interferon responses. ZIKV exposure altered extracellular vesicle (EV) mRNA, miRNA and protein cargo, including ZIKV proteins, regardless of productive infection. These findings suggest that early gestation macaque TSCs and STs are permissive to ZIKV infection, and that EV analysis may provide a foundation for identifying non-invasive biomarkers of placental infection in a highly translational model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious*
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus* / physiology