Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-20-2023

Document Type



Drury, S. (2023, March 20). Zika Virus-Mediated Microcephaly and Amyloid Precursor Protein. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska - Lincoln.


Copyright Sam Drury 2023.


The Zika virus is a flavivirus first discovered in 1947, which remained in obscurity until 2007, when the first outbreaks of Zika virus occurred. While Zika virus infections are relatively mild and rarely cause hospitalization, of interest in particular is the effect of Zika virus on the fetuses of pregnant women, as well as the occurrence of Guillain-Barré syndrome. However, an interesting discovery made in 2020 by my advisor, Dr. Luwen Zhang, suggested that a particular protein—amyloid precursor protein, or APP—serves as a restriction factor that protects against the Zika virus. APP, despite being a protein that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease, appears to protect against the Zika virus by serving as a decoy receptor.

The focus of my study with UCARE under Dr. Luwen Zhang was the study of amyloid precursor protein and whether or not APP expression prevents microcephaly in the fetus of pregnant mammals.