Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

First Advisor

Dr. John M. Thomas III

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Dearth

Third Advisor

Dr. John Vandeberg


Monodelphis domestica is a small marsupial from South America that has been previously been used in human metabolism research. However, their suitability as models for Zika virus (ZIKV) research, is currently unknown. Preliminary studies have shown M. domestica susceptible to ZIKV through the intracerebral route. We utilized immunohistochemistry, and analyzation of serological responses to show that juvenile Monodelphis domestica can be infected with ZIKV by using various routes of infection that include subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, and intramuscular. ELISAs performed on sera confirmed that juveniles injected with ZIKV by all three routes generated anti-ZIKV antibodies. Additionally, ZIKV nonstructural protein 1 was detected through multiple organs that include brain, eye, spleen, heart, and sex organs through immunohistochemical analysis. The data suggests that infection was established, persisted in multiple organs and had general immune responses regardless of route. These results demonstrate M. domestica as a susceptible new model for ZIKV infection in vivo.


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