Viral infections have always been the cause of serious human diseases, usually increasing rates of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Recently, the flavivirus Zika virus (ZIKV) was introduced in Brazil causing an alarming increase in the number of babies born with microcephaly. The activation of the antiviral immune response is very important in blocking viral replication but also detrimental to the host, especially during disease. The immune response is modulated by several different factors, for example, post-transcriptionally by miRNAs. In addition, the importance of miRNAs during embryonic development is unquestionable. For instance, it has been clearly demonstrated that radial glial proliferation and neuronal and glial differentiation is finely orchestrated by miRNAs. In this context, very little is known about the involvement of miRNAs during ZIKV infection and brain development. In this context, this project intends to contribute to the Ph.D. project (2017/11828-0) whose main goal is to evaluate the role of miRNAs during ZIKV infection. We will evaluate in a more functional way, the possible relevant miRNAs targets, focusing on neurodevelopment and antiviral immune response. This will provide extremely important data not only about the pathogenesis of microcephaly but may also raise possible targets for therapeutic intervention.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: