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Alphaviruses are infectious agents that replicate in humans and many animals; this viral genus includes Chikungunya virus, Semliki Forest virus and Sindbis virus. Alphaviruses are transmitted by arthropods, mainly mosquitoes, and thus are arboviruses.
Chikungunya virus infection leads to painful arthritis-like joint inflammation. This study shows that the NLRP3 inflammasome is crucial for alphavirus-induced inflammation and its inhibition is an effective therapeutic strategy.
Several mosquito-transmitted viruses cocirculate in the Americas, but the potential for co-transmission is unknown. Here, Rückert et al. show that Aedes aegypti mosquitos have the potential to co-transmit chikungunya, dengue and Zika viruses and that coinfection does not overall affect dissemination or transmission rates.
Alphaviruses infect their host by binding to cellular receptors and fusing with cell membranes. New studies define the receptor-binding protein of these viruses and its regulation of the membrane-fusion reaction. See Letters p.705 & p.709