Characterization of recombinant Flaviviridae viruses possessing a small reporter Tag

Tomokazu Tamura, Takasuke Fukuhara*, Takuro Uchida, Chikako Ono, Hiroyuki Mori, Asuka Sato, Yuzy Fauzyah, Toru Okamoto, Takeshi Kurosu, Yin Xiang Setoh, Michio Imamura, Norbert Tautz, Yoshihiro Sakoda, Alexander A. Khromykh, Kazuaki Chayama, Yoshiharu Matsuura

*Corresponding author for this work


The family Flaviviridae consists of four genera, Flavivirus, Pestivirus, Pegivirus, and Hepacivirus, and comprises important pathogens of human and animals. Although the construction of recombinant viruses carrying reporter genes encoding fluorescent and bioluminescent proteins has been reported, the stable insertion of foreign genes into viral genomes retaining infectivity remains difficult. Here, we applied the 11-amino-acid subunit derived from NanoLuc luciferase to the engineering of the Flaviviridae viruses and then examined the biological characteristics of the viruses. We successfully generated recombinant viruses carrying the split-luciferase gene, including dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and bovine viral diarrhea virus. The stability of the viruses was confirmed by five rounds of serial passages in the respective susceptible cell lines. The propagation of the recombinant luciferase viruses in each cell line was comparable to that of the parental viruses. By using a purified counterpart luciferase protein, this split-luciferase assay can be applicable in various cell lines, even when it is difficult to transduce the counterpart gene. The efficacy of antiviral reagents against the recombinant viruses could be monitored by the reduction of luciferase expression, which was correlated with that of viral RNA, and the recombinant HCV was also useful to examine viral dynamics in vivo. Taken together, our findings indicate that the recombinant Flaviviridae viruses possessing the split NanoLuc luciferase gene generated here provide powerful tools to understand viral life cycle and pathogenesis and a robust platform to develop novel antivirals against Flaviviridae viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01582-17
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02.01.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 204-04 Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of recombinant Flaviviridae viruses possessing a small reporter Tag'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this