Document Type


Publication Date

November 2013


Abstract For many years, zebrafish have been the prototypical model for studies in developmental biology. In recent years, zebrafish has emerged as a powerful model system to study infectious diseases, including viral infections. Experiments conducted with herpes simplex virus type-1 in adult zebrafish or in embryo models are encouraging as they establish proof of concept with viral-host tropism and possible screening of antiviral compounds. In addition, the presence of human homologs of viral entry receptors in zebrafish such as 3-O sulfated heparan sulfate, nectins, and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 14-like receptor bring strong rationale for virologists to test their in vivo significance in viral entry in a zebrafish model and compare the structure-function basis of virus zebrafish receptor interaction for viral entry. On the other end, a zebrafish model is already being used for studying inflammation and angiogenesis, with or without genetic manipulations, and therefore can be exploited to study viral infection-associated pathologies. The major advantage with zebrafish is low cost, easy breeding and maintenance, rapid lifecycle, and a transparent nature, which allows visualizing dissemination of fluorescently labeled virus infection in real time either at a localized region or the whole body. Further, the availability of multiple transgenic lines that express fluorescently tagged immune cells for in vivo imaging of virus infected animals is extremely attractive. In addition, a fully developed immune system and potential for receptor-specific knockouts further advocate the use of zebrafish as a new tool to study viral infections. In this review, we focus on expanding the potential of zebrafish model system in understanding human infectious diseases and future benefits.

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