B.A. Satterfield, R.W. Cross, K.A. Fenton, et al. Nipah Virus C and W Proteins Contribute to Respiratory Disease in Ferrets. J. Virol. 90:6326, 2017.
Nipah virus (NiV) is a highly lethal paramyxovirus that recently emerged as a causative agent of febrile encephalitis and severe respiratory disease in humans. The ferret model has emerged as the preferred small-animal model with which to study NiV disease, but much is still unknown about the viral determinants of NiV pathogenesis, including the contribution of the C protein in ferrets. Additionally, studies have yet to examine the synergistic effects of the various P gene products on pathogenesis in animal models. Using recombinant NiVs (rNiVs), we examine the sole contribution of the NiV C protein and the combined contributions of the C and W proteins in the ferret model of NiV pathogenesis. We show that an rNiV void of C expression resulted in 100% mortality, though with limited respiratory disease, like our previously reported rNiV void of W expression; this finding is in stark contrast to the attenuated phenotype observed in previous hamster studies utilizing rNiVs void of C expression. We also observed that an rNiV void of both C and W expression resulted in limited respiratory disease; however, there was severe neurological disease leading to 60% mortality, and the surviving ferrets demonstrated sequelae similar to those for human survivors of NiV encephalitis.