West Nile Virus (WNV) is a member of the Flaviviridae, a plus-stranded virus family that includes St. Louis encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus, and Dengue virus. WNV was initially isolated in 1937 in the West Nile region of Uganda and has become prevalent in Africa, Asia, and Europe. It has rapidly spread across the United States with cases being observed in every continental state. Virus particles consist of a dense core made up of the core/capsid protein encapsulating the RNA genome surrounded by a membrane envelope embedded with envelope and matrix proteins which play a major role for WNV entry into target cells. The viral core protein is thought to contribute to the WNV-associated inflammation via apoptosis induced though the caspase-9 pathway as delivery of core gene delivery into the striatum of mouse brain and skeletal muscle resulted in cell death and inflammation.
WNV NS3; WNV NS3 Protease