Dengue virus NS1 secretion is regulated via importin-subunit β1 controlling expression of the chaperone GRp78 and targeted by the clinical drug ivermectin

mBio. 2023 Oct 31;14(5):e0144123. doi: 10.1128/mbio.01441-23. Epub 2023 Sep 13.


Dengue virus (DENV) is a major human pathogen that can cause hemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome. One important factor of DENV pathogenicity is non-structural protein 1 (NS1), a glycoprotein that is secreted from infected cells. Here we study the mode of action of the widely used drug ivermectin, used to treat parasitic infections and recently shown to lower NS1 blood levels in DENV-infected patients. We found that ivermectin blocks the nuclear transport of transcription factors required for the expression of chaperones that support the folding and secretion of glycoproteins, including NS1. Impairing nuclear transport of these transcription factors by ivermectin or depleting them from infected cells dampens NS1 folding and thus its secretion. These results reveal a novel mode of action of ivermectin that might apply to other flaviviruses as well.

Keywords: flavivirus; glycoproteins; host targeting therapy; nonstructural protein; nuclear transport; protein secretion.

MeSH terms

  • Dengue Virus* / genetics
  • Dengue Virus* / metabolism
  • Dengue*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone BiP
  • Humans
  • Ivermectin / metabolism
  • Ivermectin / pharmacology
  • Karyopherins
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism


  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone BiP
  • Ivermectin
  • Karyopherins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Transcription Factors
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins