Dengue virus binding to human leukocyte cell lines: Receptor usage differs between cell types and virus strains

Helle Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Michelle Meyer, David R. Fitzpatrick, John S. Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Monocyte macrophages (Mψ) are thought to be the principal target cells for the dengue viruses (DV), the cause of dengue fever and hemorrhagic fever. Cell attachment is mediated by the virus envelope (E) protein, but the host-cell receptors remain elusive. Currently, candidate receptor molecules include proteins, Fc receptors, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and lipopolysaccharide binding CD14-associated molecules. Here, we show that in addition to Mψ, cells of the T- and B-cell lineages, and including cells lacking GAGs, can bind and become infected with DV. The level of virus binding varied widely between cell lines and, notably, between virus strains within a DV serotype. The latter difference may be ascribable to one or more amino acid differences in domain II of the E protein. Heparin had no significant effect on DV binding, while heparinase treatment of cells in all cases increased DV binding, further supporting the contention that GAGs are not required for DV binding and infection of human cells. In contrast to a recent report, we found that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) had either no effect or enhanced DV binding to, and infection of, various human leukocyte cell lines, while in all virus-cell combinations, depletion of Ca2+/Mg2+ enhanced DV binding. This argues against involvement of β2 integrins in virus-host cell interactions, a conclusion in accord with the demonstration of three virus binding membrane proteins of <75 kDa. Collectively, the results of this study question the purported exclusive importance of the E protein domain III in DV binding to host cells and point to a far more complex interaction between various target cells and, notably, individual DV strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dengue virus
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Host cell receptor
  • β2 integrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Cancer Research
  • Virology


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