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We previously reported two hamster models for viscerotropic yellow fever virus (YFV) infection: one using a YFV strain (Jiménez), isolated from a fatal human case in Panama in 1974, and the other using the prototype YFV strain (Asibi). Asibi hamster passage 7 (P7) was associated with accumulation of seven amino acid substitutions, including five in the envelope protein. In this study we report the genome sequences of the hamster Jiménez P0 and P10 viruses in which we identified only two amino acid substitutions during passage, one each in the nonstructural proteins NS3 and NS5, indicating a role for the nonstructural proteins in increased YFV viscerotropism in the Jiménez hamster model. Thus, there are multiple molecular mechanisms involved in viscerotropism of YFV in the hamster model. Neither Asibi P7 nor Jiménez P10 viruses were viscerotropic in mice or guinea pigs. Thus, the hamster viscerotropic phenotype did not translate to other laboratory rodent species.


Monica A McArthur, Shuliu L Zhang, Li Li, Robert B Tesh, Alan D T Barrett. Molecular Characterization of Hamster-Adapted Yellow Fever Virus. Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.). 2020 Mar;20(3):222-227

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PMID: 31794691

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