Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America








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 Publication Citation

Vora, A., Zhou, W., Londono-Renteria, B., Woodson, M., Sherman, M. B., Colpitts, T. M., . . . Sultana, H. (2018). Arthropod EVs mediate dengue virus transmission through interaction with a tetraspanin domain containing glycoprotein Tsp29Fb. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(28), E6604–E6613. doi:10.1073/pnas.1720125115


0000-0002-5693-5783 (Vora)