Langat virus (LGTV) belongs to the Flaviviridae family, genus Flavivirus. LGTV is a tick-borne flavivirus of naturally low pathogenicity belonging to the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) complex. It is enveloped, containing a capsid and single stranded RNA genome.
Langat virus a tick borne virus that is used as a model in the lab for other flaviviruses due to its genetic similarity to other tick-borne encephalitis viruses. It causes enchepalitis in mice but can cause mild disease in humans.
Impact for Society – what are we doing?
LGTV can be grown at biosafety level 2, and is therefore used at the Institute to study LGTV in vector and non-vector tick cell lines as a model for highly pathogenic TBEV. We use LGTV to investigate tick cell innate immune responses to flavivirus infection. By discovering how LGTV interacts with different cells, our scientists are able to understand more about how the virus is transmitted. This knowledge can then give us insights into how the closely related TBEV is transmitted and provides a target for vaccine development against other encephalitis viruses.
*Image courtesy of Claudia Rückert (2014), PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh