Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. John M Thomas III

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert K Dearth

Third Advisor

Dr. John VandeBerg


Zika virus (ZIKV) is a class IV RNA virus transmitted by Aedes species of mosquitoes. It produces flu-like symptoms, but recent studies have associated additional, more severe pathologies with ZIKV like microcephaly. Currently, no effective treatment options or vaccines exist. This is partly due to limitations of current animal models. Monodelphis domestica (the gray short-tail opossum) may serve as a proper model for ZIKV research. Here we test the susceptibility of M. domestica to ZIKV infection. Female, immune-competent subjects were injected with live ZIKV and analyzed serologically and histologically for evidence of ZIKV replication. ELISAs performed on sera confirmed that subjects injected with ZIKV generated anti-ZIKV antibodies. Additionally, ZIKV nonstructural protein 1 was detected in sex organs through immunohistochemical analysis up to 26 weeks post-infection. These data suggest that infection was established and persisted in sex organs. M. domestica may therefore serve as a practical animal model for ZIKV research.


Copyright 2020 Oscar Quintanilla. All Rights Reserved.

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