Arthropod EVs mediate dengue virus transmission through interaction with a tetraspanin domain containing glycoprotein Tsp29Fb

Ashish Vora, Wenshuo Zhou, Berlin Londono-Renteria, Michael Woodson, Michael B. Sherman, Tonya M. Colpitts, Girish Neelakanta, Hameeda Sultana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes dengue fever in humans, worldwide. Using in vitro cell lines derived from Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, the primary vectors of DENV, we report that DENV2/DENV3-infected cells secrete extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, containing infectious viral RNA and proteins. A full-length DENV2 genome, detected in arthropod EVs, was infectious to naïve mosquito and mammalian cells, including human-skin keratinocytes and blood endothelial cells. Cryo-electron microscopy showed mosquito EVs with a size range from 30 to 250 nm. Treatments with RNase A, Triton X-100, and 4G2 antibody-bead binding assays showed that infectious DENV2-RNA and proteins are contained inside EVs. Viral plaque formation and dilution assays also showed securely contained infectious viral RNA and proteins in EVs are transmitted to human cells. Up-regulated HSP70 upon DENV2 infection showed no role in viral replication and transmission through EVs. In addition, qRT-PCR and immunoblotting results revealed that DENV2 up-regulates expression of a mosquito tetraspanin-domain–containing glycoprotein, designated as Tsp29Fb, in A. aegypti mosquitoes, cells, and EVs. RNAi-mediated silencing and antibody blocking of Tsp29Fb resulted in reduced DENV2 loads in both mosquito cells and EVs. Immunoprecipitation showed Tsp29Fb to directly interact with DENV2 E-protein. Furthermore, treatment with GW4869 (exosome-release inhibitor) affected viral burden, direct interaction of Tsp29Fb with E-protein and EV-mediated transmission of viral RNA and proteins to naïve human cells. In summary, we report a very important finding on EV-mediated transmission of DENV2 from arthropod to mammalian cells through interactions with an arthropod EVs-enriched marker Tsp29Fb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E6604-E6613
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 10 2018


  • Arthropod EVs
  • Dengue
  • HSP70
  • Transmission
  • Tsp29Fb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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