The complement system functions during the early phase of infection and directly mediates pathogen elimination. The recent identification of complement-like factors in arthropods indicates that this system shares common ancestry in vertebrates and invertebrates as an immune defense mechanism. Thioester (TE)-containing proteins (TEPs), which show high similarity to mammalian complement C3, are thought to play a key role in innate immunity in arthropods. Herein, we report that a viral recognition cascade composed of two complement-related proteins limits the flaviviral infection of Aedes aegypti. An A. aegypti macroglobulin complement-related factor (AaMCR), belonging to the insect TEP family, is a crucial effector in opposing the flaviviral infection of A. aegypti. However, AaMCR does not directly interact with DENV, and its antiviral effect requires an A. aegypti homologue of scavenger receptor-C (AaSR-C), which interacts with DENV and AaMCR simultaneously in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, recognition of DENV by the AaSR-C/AaMCR axis regulates the expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which exerts potent anti-DENV activity. Our results both demonstrate the existence of a viral recognition pathway that controls the flaviviral infection by inducing AMPs and offer insights into a previously unappreciated antiviral function of the complement-like system in arthropods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology