Nipah Shell Disorder, Modes of Infection, and Virulence

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Intrinsically disordered protein, Nucleocapsid, Nipah, Virulence, Viral protein, Protein structure, Protein function, Shell

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The Nipah Virus (NiV) was first isolated during a 1998–9 outbreak in Malaysia. The outbreak initially infected farm pigs and then moved to humans from pigs with a case-fatality rate (CFR) of about 40%. After 2001, regular outbreaks occurred with higher CFRs (~71%, 2001–5, ~93%, 2008–12). The spread arose from drinking virus-laden palm date sap and human-to-human transmission. Intrinsic disorder analysis revealed strong correlation between the percentage of disorder in the N protein and CFR (Regression: r2 = 0.93, p < 0.01, ANOVA: p < 0.01). Distinct disorder and, therefore, genetic differences can be found in all three group of strains. The fact that the transmission modes of the Malaysia strain are different from those of the Bangladesh strains suggests that the correlations may also be linked to the modes of viral transmission. Analysis of the NiV and related viruses suggests links between modes of transmission and disorder of not just the N protein but, also, of M shell protein. The links among shell disorder, transmission modes, and virulence suggest mechanisms by which viruses are attenuated as they passed through different cell hosts from different animal species. These have implications for development of vaccines and epidemiological molecular analytical tools to contain outbreaks.

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Microbial Pathogenesis, v. 141, art. 103976