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High-Throughput Fitness Profiling of Zika Virus E Protein Reveals Different Roles for Glycosylation during Infection of Mammalian and Mosquito Cells


Zika virus (ZIKV) infection causes Guillain-Barré syndrome and severe birth defects. ZIKV envelope (E) protein is the major viral protein involved in cell receptor binding and entry and is therefore considered one of the major determinants in ZIKV pathogenesis. Here we report a gene-wide mapping of functional residues of ZIKV E protein using a mutant library, with changes covering every nucleotide position. By comparing the replication fitness of every viral mutant between mosquito and human cells, we identified that mutations affecting glycosylation display the most divergence. By characterizing individual mutants, we show that ablation of glycosylation selectively benefits ZIKV infection of mosquito cells by enhancing cell entry, whereas it either has little impact on ZIKV infection on certain human cells or leads to decreased infection through the entry factor DC-SIGN. In conclusion, we define the roles of individual residues of ZIKV envelope protein, which contribute to ZIKV replication fitness in human and mosquito cells.

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