New insights about zika virus infection using iPS cells

  • Head of Research, D'Or Institute for Research and Education and Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
      Stevens Rehen received his Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and Ph.D. at the Federal University of Rio de Janerio in Brazil. He later completed postdoctoral training at the University of California San Diego and The Scripps Research Institute. Over the past five years, Stevens has published over 76 peer-reviewed publications. Currently, Stevens is a Full Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janerio. Additionally, he is the Head of Research at D'Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and Regional Committee Member of the Pew Latin American Program in the Biomedical Sciences.


    In the last years, progress has been made regarding the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into neural stem cells and astrocytes, growing into neurospheres and cerebral organoids. These models offer an exciting new range of opportunities to investigate developmental changes associated with zika virus (ZIKV) infection in human neural cells. Using immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we showed that ZIKV targets human brain cells, reducing their viability and growth as neurospheres and brain organoids. Combining transcriptomics and proteomics, we showed that ZIKV alters the molecular fingerprint of neural stem cells by activating responses to viral replication, DNA damage targets, cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, as well as the downregulation of neurogenic programs. Our recent results will be discussed during the presentation.

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