Dengue disease is becoming a huge public health concern around the world as more than one-third of the world's population living in areas at risk of infection. In an effort to assess host factors interacting with dengue virus, we identified claudin-1, a major tight junction component, as an essential cell surface protein for dengue virus entry. When claudin-1 was knocked down in Huh 7.5 cells via shRNA, the amount of dengue virus entering host cells was reduced. Consequently, the progeny virus productions were decreased and dengue virus-induced CPE was prevented. Furthermore, restoring the expression of claudin-1 in the knockdown cells facilitated dengue virus entry. The interaction between claudin-1 and dengue viral prM protein was further demonstrated using the pull-down assay. Deletion of the extracellular loop 1 (ECL1) of claudin-1 abolished such interaction, so did point mutations C54A, C64A and I32M on ECL1. These results suggest that the interaction between viral protein prM and host protein claudin-1 was essential for dengue entry. Since host and viral factors involved in virus entry are promising therapeutic targets, determining the essential role of claudin-1 could lead to the discovery of entry inhibitors with attractive therapeutic potential against dengue disease.
Keywords: Claudin-1; Dengue virus; Extracellular loops; Tight junction; Virus entry; prM.
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