Pham, A. M., Langlois, R. A. and TenOever, B. R.
PLoS Pathog 14/01/2012
Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen for which no vaccine or specific therapeutic is available. Although it is well established that dendritic cells and macrophages are primary sites of DENV replication, it remains unclear whether non-hematopoietic cellular compartments serve as virus reservoirs. Here, we exploited hematopoietic-specific microRNA-142 (miR-142) to control virus tropism by inserting tandem target sites into the virus to restrict replication exclusively in this cell population. In vivo use of this virus restricted infection of CD11b+, CD11c+, and CD45+ cells, resulting in a loss of virus spread, regardless of the route of administration. Furthermore, sequencing of the targeted virus population that persisted at low levels, demonstrated total excision of the inserted miR-142 target sites. The complete conversion of the virus population under these selective conditions suggests that these immune cells are the predominant sources of virus amplification. Taken together, this work highlights the importance of hematopoietic cells for DENV replication and showcases an invaluable tool for the study of virus pathogenesis.