Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Semen inhibits Zika virus infection of cells and tissues from the anogenital region.

  • Author(s): Müller, Janis A
  • Harms, Mirja
  • Krüger, Franziska
  • Groß, Rüdiger
  • Joas, Simone
  • Hayn, Manuel
  • Dietz, Andrea N
  • Lippold, Sina
  • von Einem, Jens
  • Schubert, Axel
  • Michel, Manuela
  • Mayer, Benjamin
  • Cortese, Mirko
  • Jang, Karen S
  • Sandi-Monroy, Nathallie
  • Deniz, Miriam
  • Ebner, Florian
  • Vapalahti, Olli
  • Otto, Markus
  • Bartenschlager, Ralf
  • Herbeuval, Jean-Philippe
  • Schmidt-Chanasit, Jonas
  • Roan, Nadia R
  • Münch, Jan
  • et al.
Abstract

Zika virus (ZIKV) causes severe birth defects and can be transmitted via sexual intercourse. Semen from ZIKV-infected individuals contains high viral loads and may therefore serve as an important vector for virus transmission. Here we analyze the effect of semen on ZIKV infection of cells and tissues derived from the anogenital region. ZIKV replicates in all analyzed cell lines, primary cells, and endometrial or vaginal tissues. However, in the presence of semen, infection by ZIKV and other flaviviruses is potently inhibited. We show that semen prevents ZIKV attachment to target cells, and that an extracellular vesicle preparation from semen is responsible for this anti-ZIKV activity. Our findings suggest that ZIKV transmission is limited by semen. As such, semen appears to serve as a protector against sexual ZIKV transmission, despite the availability of highly susceptible cells in the anogenital tract and high viral loads in this bodily fluid.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View