Flavivirus NS1 protein in infected host sera enhances viral acquisition by mosquitoes

Jianying Liu, Yang Liu, Kaixiao Nie, Senyan Du, Jingjun Qiu, Xiaojing Pang, Penghua Wang, Gong Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


The arbovirus life cycle involves viral transfer between a vertebrate host and an arthropod vector, and acquisition of virus from an infected mammalian host by a vector is an essential step in this process. Here, we report that flavivirus nonstructural protein-1 (NS1), which is abundantly secreted into the serum of an infected host, plays a critical role in flavivirus acquisition by mosquitoes. The presence of dengue virus (DENV) and Japanese encephalitis virus NS1s in the blood of infected interferon-α and Î 3 receptor-deficient mice (AG6) facilitated virus acquisition by their native mosquito vectors because the protein enabled the virus to overcome the immune barrier of the mosquito midgut. Active immunization of AG6 mice with a modified DENV NS1 reduced DENV acquisition by mosquitoes and protected mice against a lethal DENV challenge, suggesting that immunization with NS1 could reduce the number of virus-carrying mosquitoes as well as the incidence of flaviviral diseases. Our study demonstrates that flaviviruses utilize NS1 proteins produced during their vertebrate phases to enhance their acquisition by vectors, which might be a result of flavivirus evolution to adapt to multiple host environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16087
JournalNature Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 20 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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