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Virology. 2004 Nov 24;329(2):261-9.

Markedly reduced severity of Dengue virus infection in mosquito cell cultures persistently infected with Aedes albopictus densovirus (AalDNV).

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Division of Medical Molecular Biology, Office for Research and Development, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700, Thailand.


AalDNV-infected C6/36 cells serially passaged for over 10 weeks showed a decline in percentage of anti-AalDNV-positive cells (APC) from an initial 92% to approximately 20%. Cultures of persistent APC were indistinguishable from uninfected cultures by direct microscopy but most stained cells from early APC passages had enlarged nuclei with eosinophilic inclusions, while late APC passages had few and naive cells none. Super challenge of persistent APC cultures did not increase percentage APC and supernatants from persistent APC cultures gave low APC (40%) in naive C6/36 cell cultures. When challenged with dengue virus serotype 2 (DEN-2), naive C6/36 cells showed severe cytopathic effects (CPE) and high mortality within 4 days, as did early passage APC cultures. Remarkably, DEN-2 infections in persistent APC cultures were much less severe, being characterized by reduced DEN-2 infection percentage, retarded DEN-2 virion production, no CPE and no significant mortality. Reasons for rapid reduction in APC and resistance to superinfection upon serial passage remain unproven but may relate to production of AalDNV-defective interfering particles (DIP) by molecular mechanisms still open to speculation. More difficult to explain is cross-protection against DEN-2-induced mortality seen in persistent APC cultures. However, by comparison to work on shrimp viruses, we speculate that this may involve blockage of viral-triggered apoptosis. The phenomena described raise questions regarding the potential for persistent infections by unknown viruses to confound experimental results with insect cell lines.

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