Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(7):872-883. doi:10.7150/ijbs.15641 This issue

Research Paper

Glycosphingolipid GM3 is Indispensable for Dengue Virus Genome Replication

Kezhen Wang1#, Juanjuan Wang1#, Ta Sun1, Gang Bian1, Wen Pan1, Tingting Feng1, Penghua Wang2, Yunsen Li1✉, Jianfeng Dai1✉

1. Institutes of Biology and Medical Sciences, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Infection and Immunity, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, P.R. China
2. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.
# These two authors contribute equally.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Wang K, Wang J, Sun T, Bian G, Pan W, Feng T, Wang P, Li Y, Dai J. Glycosphingolipid GM3 is Indispensable for Dengue Virus Genome Replication. Int J Biol Sci 2016; 12(7):872-883. doi:10.7150/ijbs.15641. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Dengue virus (DENV) causes the most prevalent arthropod-borne viral disease of humans worldwide. Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are involved in virus infection by regulating various steps of viral-host interaction. However, the distinct role of GSLs during DENV infection remains unclear. In this study, we used mouse melanoma B16 cells and their GSL-deficient mutant counterpart GM95 cells to study the influence of GSLs on DENV infection. Surprisingly, GM95 cells were highly resistant to DENV infection compared with B16 cells. Pretreatment of B16 cells with synthetase inhibitor of GM3, the most abundant GSLs in B16 cells, or silencing GM3 synthetase T3GAL5, significantly inhibited DENV infection. DENV attachment and endocytosis were not impaired in GM95 cells, but DENV genome replication was obviously inhibited in GM95 cells compared to B16 cells. Furthermore, GM3 was colocalized with DENV viral replication complex on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) inside the B16 cells. Finally, GM3 synthetase inhibitor significantly reduced the mortality rate of suckling mice that challenged with DENV by impairing the viral replication in mouse brain. Taken together, these data indicated that GM3 was not required for DENV attachment and endocytosis, however, essential for viral genome replication. Targeting GM3 could be a novel strategy to inhibit DENV infection.

Keywords: Flavivirus, Dengue Virus, Glycolipid, Glycosphingolipids, Lipid Synthesis, Viral Replication