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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 471323, 9 pages
Research Article

Cell Type-Dependent RNA Recombination Frequency in the Japanese Encephalitis Virus

1Division of Microbiology, Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan 33332, Taiwan
2Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546-0312, USA
3Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan 33332, Taiwan
4Department of Public Health and Parasitology, Chang Gung University, Kwei-San, Tao-Yuan 33332, Taiwan

Received 10 May 2014; Accepted 2 July 2014; Published 22 July 2014

Academic Editor: Hongwei Wang

Copyright © 2014 Wei-Wei Chiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is one of approximately 70 flaviviruses, frequently causing symptoms involving the central nervous system. Mutations of its genomic RNA frequently occur during viral replication, which is believed to be a force contributing to viral evolution. Nevertheless, accumulating evidences show that some JEV strains may have actually arisen from RNA recombination between genetically different populations of the virus. We have demonstrated that RNA recombination in JEV occurs unequally in different cell types. In the present study, viral RNA fragments transfected into as well as viral RNAs synthesized in mosquito cells were shown not to be stable, especially in the early phase of infection possibly via cleavage by exoribonuclease. Such cleaved small RNA fragments may be further degraded through an RNA interference pathway triggered by viral double-stranded RNA during replication in mosquito cells, resulting in a lower frequency of RNA recombination in mosquito cells compared to that which occurs in mammalian cells. In fact, adjustment of viral RNA to an appropriately lower level in mosquito cells prevents overgrowth of the virus and is beneficial for cells to survive the infection. Our findings may also account for the slower evolution of arboviruses as reported previously.