Sindbis virus, an Alphavirus in the Togaviridae family, is an enveloped, single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. Found mostly in parts of Africa, Australia, Egypt, Philippines, and Northern Europe – it is known to cause Ockelbo or Pogosta disease [1]. This disease is characterized by the sudden onset of fever, headache, and arthralgia; followed by arthritis, rash, fatigue, and muscle pain. The symptoms are gone within 14 days, though cases have shown joint pain to last from 12 months to 2 and a half years [4]. Common to several other viruses, Sindbis is transmitted from birds (its reservoir) to humans via an arthropod vector, the mosquito [5]. The transmission and symptoms of Sindbis virus are well documented. Once inside a human host, however, much less is known. When Sindbis enters the body, its target is the nervous system. The mechanism of not only neuroinvasion, but neurovirulence and persistence is unknown. Both the virus and the host play important roles in the progression of a neurological, viral infection [2,6]. The aim of this study is to investigate the infection and persistence of Sindbis virus in an environment that replicates the neurological system of a rodent host using iCHIP (in-vitro Chip-Based Human Investigational Platform). The multi-electrode array (MEA) on the iCHIP is used to detect signaling between the seeded neurons and to map the effect of the virus on them [3]. After detection, samples are taken at intervals and tested to observe persistence of both live virus and viral RNA. We hypothesize that the samples will show evidence of viable virus for the first couple weeks of sampling via a TCID50 assay, but then observe drop in viral population while the levels of viral RNA remain constant.




Monica Borucki

Lab site

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under grant # 1340110. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program in partnership with The Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Resources were provided through Laboratory Directed Research and Development funding (14-SI-001).

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