Immunolocalization of the dengue virus nonstructural glycoprotein NS1 suggests a role in viral RNA replication

Virology. 1996 Jun 1;220(1):232-40. doi: 10.1006/viro.1996.0307.


Although many workers have investigated the maturation and processing of the flavivirus nonstructural glycoprotein NS1 in infected cells, these studies have provided little insight into a possible function for NS1. In this study we investigated the subcellular localization of NS1 both by immunofluorescence and cryo-immuno electron microscopy of infected Vero and C6/36 cells. NS1 was found to be tightly associated with intracellular membranes, in particular with vesicle packets and large cytoplasmic vacuoles. Surprisingly, NS1 did not associate with mature virus particles, a finding that is inconsistent with the postulated role for this protein in virion assembly and/or maturation. However, dual-labeling experiments did reveal in both the confocal immunofluorescence and cryo-immuno EM studies the colocalization of NS1 with the viral dsRNA replicative form. Furthermore, localization of the dsRNA to the vesicle packets and cytoplasmic vacuoles seen in infected Vero and C6/36 cells, respectively, suggests that these structures may comprise the flavivirus replication complex. These findings provide further insights into the maturation pathway of NS1 and suggest a possible role for this protein in viral RNA replication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Dengue Virus / genetics
  • Dengue Virus / metabolism
  • Dengue Virus / physiology*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / metabolism
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / physiology*
  • Virus Replication / physiology*


  • NS1 protein, Dengue virus type 2
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins