The Involvement of Atlastin in Dengue Virus and Wolbachia Infection in Aedes aegypti and Its Regulation by aae-miR-989

M. Hussain, T. Bradshaw, M. Lee and S. Asgari,  Microbiology Spectrum,  2022.

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-shaping atlastin proteins (ATLs) have been demonstrated to play a functional role during flavivirus replication in mammalian cells. For dengue virus (DENV), atlastin is required in the formation of the replication organelles and RNA replication, virion assembly, production of the infectious virus particles, and trafficking or directing the association of vesicle packets with furin. Here, we investigated the involvement of atlastin in DENV replication in the mosquito Aedes aegypti and explored the possibility of its manipulation by the endosymbiotic bacterium Wolbachia to interfere with DENV replication. Results showed the expression of Ae. aegypti atlastin gene (AaATL) was upregulated in DENV-infected Aag2 cells, and its silencing led to reduced DENV replication. Contrary to our assumption that AaATL could be downregulated by Wolbachia, we did not find evidence for that in Wolbachia-infected cell lines, but this was the case in mosquitoes. Further, silencing AaATL did not have any effect on Wolbachia density. Our results also suggest that aae-miR-989 miRNA negatively regulates AaATL. The oversupply of the miRNA mimic led to reduced DENV replication consistent with the positive role of AaATL in DENV replication. Overall, the results favor AaATL’s involvement in DENV replication; however, there is no support that the protein is involved in Wolbachia-mediated DENV inhibition. In addition, the results contribute to discerning further possible overlapping functions of ATLs in mosquitoes and mammalian cells.

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