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Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 25;6:32243. doi: 10.1038/srep32243.

Autophagy-associated dengue vesicles promote viral transmission avoiding antibody neutralization.

Wu YW1,2, Mettling C3, Wu SR4, Yu CY5, Perng GC1,2,5, Lin YS1,2,5, Lin YL3.

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Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS-UPR1142, Montpellier, France.
Institute of Oral Medicine, College of Medicine and Hospital, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Center of Infectious Disease and Signaling Research, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


One of the major defense mechanisms against virus spread in vivo is the blocking of viral infectibility by neutralizing antibodies. We describe here the identification of infectious autophagy-associated dengue vesicles released from infected cells. These vesicles contain viral proteins E, NS1, prM/M, and viral RNA, as well as host lipid droplets and LC3-II, an autophagy marker. The viral RNA can be protected within the autophagic organelles since anti-dengue neutralizing antibodies do not have an effect on the vesicle-mediated transmission that is able to initiate a new round of infection in target cells. Importantly, such infectious vesicles were also detected in a patient serum. Our study suggests that autophagy machinery plays a new role in dengue virus transmission. This discovery explains the inefficiency of neutralizing antibody upon dengue infection as a potential immune evasion mechanism in vivo.

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