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CRISPR/Cas9 tool to knockout cell death pathway genes in neuronal cells and its impact under Zika virus infection

Grant number: 19/09795-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): May 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Immunology - Cellular Immunology
Principal Investigator:Ricardo Weinlich
Grantee:Rafaela da Rosa Ribeiro
Supervisor: Vania Broccoli
Host Institution: Instituto Israelita de Ensino e Pesquisa Albert Einstein (IIEPAE). Sociedade Beneficente Israelita Brasileira Albert Einstein (SBIBAE). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico S. de Bellis (IRCCS), Italy  
Associated to the scholarship:17/03603-9 - The role of cell death pathways during the ZIKA virus infection, BP.PD


Several pathways can trigger different kinds of cell death, being apoptosis, pyroptosis and necroptosis the most studied ones. The first two kinds involve caspases activation, while necroptosis is caspase independent and depends on the activation of a complex that contains RIPK3 and MLKL. During viral infection, the host cell triggers its own death trying to impair the virus replication niche. Nonetheless, coevolution of hosts and viruses gave viruses ways to block the cell death pathways. For example, herpes virus and poxvirus can block apoptosis and cytomegalovirus can block apoptosis and necroptosis. In 2015, ZIKA virus was brought to the global attention due its association with nervous system disorders, especially with microcephaly. It has been reported that ZIKA virus activates caspase-3, a central protein in the apoptosis pathway in human neuroprogenitor cells (NPC), but still is not well characterized how this caspase is activated. Moreover, little is known about the induction of other cell death pathways by ZIKA infection, especially regarding their importance to the disease phenotype. In this project, we intend to evaluate how the different cell death pathways impact in the phenotype of NPC infected with ZIKA virus. We will achieve that aim by knocking-out the neural stem cells, by CRISPR/Cas9, key genes in the different cell death pathways, such as FADD (central to the extrinsic apoptotic pathway), caspase-9 (intrinsic apoptotic pathway activator), caspase-1/11 (pyroptosis executors), RIPK3 and MLKL (necroptosis executors) and evaluating their differential susceptibility to the ZIKA infection. (AU)

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