New insights into how Zika causes microcephaly

Scientists have uncovered why the Zika virus may specifically target neural stem cells in the developing brain, potentially leading to microcephaly. The study shows that the Zika virus hijacks a human protein called Musashi-1 (MSI1) to allow it to replicate in, and kill, neural stem cells. Almost all MSI1 protein in the developing embryo is produced in the neural stem cells that will eventually develop into the baby’s brain, which could explain why these cells are so vulnerable to Zika.

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Read Neurodevelopmental protein Musashi-1 interacts with the Zika genome and promotes viral replication on the Science website