UMMS Affiliation

Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems; Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine

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Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biological Factors | Cell Biology | Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Virology | Virus Diseases | Viruses


Congenital microcephaly occurs in utero during Zika virus (ZIKV) infection. The single-gene disorder, Majewski osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II (MOPDII), also leads to microcephaly and is concomitant with a decrease in the centrosomal protein, pericentrin (PCNT). This protein is a known contributor of mitotic spindle misorientation and ultimately, microcephaly. Similar to MOPDII, either viral infection or interferon (IFN)-alpha exposure reduced PCNT levels at the mitotic spindle poles. We unexpectedly found that infection of cells with any one of a diverse set of viruses, such as ZIKV, dengue virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza A virus, or hepatitis B virus, or treatment of cells with the anti-viral cytokine, IFN-alpha, produced mitotic spindle misorientation. These findings demonstrate a related mechanism for the development of microcephaly in viral infection, the host's antiviral IFN response, and primordial dwarfism.


Biological Sciences, Cell Biology, Pathophysiology, Virology

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Copyright 2019 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

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iScience. 2019 Feb 22;12:270-279. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.01.025. Epub 2019 Jan 21. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.