Life as a vector of dengue virus: The antioxidant strategy of mosquito cells to survive viral infection

Chih Chieh Cheng, Eny Sofiyatun, Wei June Chen*, Lian Chen Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease of increasing global importance. The disease has caused heavy burdens due to frequent outbreaks in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The dengue virus (DENV) is generally transmitted between human hosts via the bite of a mosquito vector, primarily Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus as a minor species. It is known that the virus needs to alternately infect mosquito and human cells. DENV-induced cell death is relevant to the pathogenesis in humans as infected cells undergo apoptosis. In contrast, mosquito cells mostly survive the infection; this allows infected mosquitoes to remain healthy enough to serve as an efficient vector in nature. Overexpression of antioxidant genes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutaredoxin (Grx), thioredoxin (Trx), and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) have been detected in DENV2-infected mosquito cells. Additional antioxidants, including GST, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5a), and p53 isoform 2 (p53-2), and perhaps some others, are also involved in creating an intracellular environment suitable for cell replication and viral infection. Antiapoptotic effects involving inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) upregulation and subsequent elevation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 activities also play crucial roles in the ability of mosquito cells to survive DENV infection. This article focused on the effects of intracellular responses in mosquito cells to infection primarily by DENVs. It may provide more information to better understand virus/cell interactions that can possibly elucidate the evolutionary pathway that led to the mosquito becoming a vector.

Original languageEnglish
Article number395
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - 03 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antioxidant defense
  • Dengue virus
  • Mosquito cells
  • Survival strategy


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