Model of DI particle virus-host dynamics explain viral latency
Neil Clark, Ma'ayan Lab, Department of Therapeutics and Pharmacology, The Mount Sinai Medical Centre

Many RNA viruses have associated incomplete versions called defective interfering (DI) particles.  Such particles can interfere with viral replication by overloading the viral replication machinery and affect other aspects of viral host dynamics. DI particles can be more readily detected by the host, promoting interferon production leading to a robust immune response.  These observations suggest a functional role for DI particles which is to slow down viral propagation and promote latency. Here we produced high resolution microscopy images of LLCMK2 cells infected with Sendai virus both with and without DI particles, then developed an agent based model to gain some insight into the spatio-temporal infection dynamics. The model suggests a relationship between the fractal geometry of viral plaques and their power-law rate of growth. Also the model supports the idea that DI particles along with the associated interferon response can slow the power-law growth to a logarithmic growth, supporting the association with latency and hinting at the therapeutic potential of DI particles.