Dengue virus (DV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that causes haemorrhagic fever in humans. DV primarily targets immature dendritic cells (DCs) after a bite by an infected mosquito vector. Here, we analysed the interactions between DV and human-monocyte-derived DCs at the level of virus entry. We show that the DC-specific ICAM3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) molecule, a cell-surface, mannose-specific, C-type lectin, binds mosquito-cell-derived DVs and allows viral replication. Conclusive evidence for the involvement of DC-SIGN in DV infection was obtained by the inhibition of viral infection by anti-DC-SIGN antibodies and by the soluble tetrameric ectodomain of DC-SIGN. Our data show that DC-SIGN functions as a DV-binding lectin by interacting with the DV envelope glycoprotein. Mosquito-cell-derived DVs may have differential infectivity for DC-SIGN-expressing cells. We suggest that the differential use of DC-SIGN by viral envelope glycoproteins may account for the immunopathogenesis of DVs
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