Flaviviruses are the most medically relevant group of arboviruses causing a wide range of diseases in humans and are associated with high mortality and morbidity, as such posing a major health concern. Viruses belonging to this family can be endemic (e.g., dengue virus), but can also cause fulminant outbreaks (e.g., West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and Zika virus). Intense research efforts in the past decades uncovered shared fundamental strategies used by flaviviruses to successfully replicate in their respective hosts. However, the distinct features contributing to the specific host and tissue tropism as well as the pathological outcomes unique to each individual flavivirus are still largely elusive. The profound footprint of individual viruses on their respective hosts can be investigated using novel technologies in the field of proteomics that have rapidly developed over the last decade. An unprecedented sensitivity and throughput of mass spectrometers, combined with the development of new sample preparation and bioinformatics analysis methods, have made the systematic investigation of virus–host interactions possible. Furthermore, the ability to assess dynamic alterations in protein abundances, protein turnover rates and post-translational modifications occurring in infected cells now offer the unique possibility to unravel complex viral perturbations induced in the infected host. In this review, we discuss the most recent contributions of mass spectrometry–based proteomic approaches in flavivirus biology with a special focus on Zika virus, and their basic and translational potential and implications in understanding and characterizing host responses to arboviral infections.
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