Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Break out the bug zapper: DENV-5 is the new dengue virus in town!

A report from the Third International Conference on Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever describes the discovery, by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch, of a new type of dengue virus (DENV). he virus was found during screening of samples from 2007, collected from Malaysia's northern Sarawak state.


Click to enlarge. An alignment of the previously known 4 dengue virus complete genome sequence. 
The GenBank accession number is shown next to the serotype's name.
They share 68% olignucleotide identity. Aligned using Geneious 6.1.6.

Dengue viruses have an ~11 kilobase, positive-sense, RNA genome enveloped in a lipid bilayer membrane (taken from the host cell upon virion exit) resulting in a 50 nanometer particle. 

Dengue viruses belong to the Family Flaviviridae, Genus Flavivirus and belong to the Species Dengue virus. The viral genome produces a single polyprotein that is cut into 10 proteins (called C, M, E, NS1, NS2A, NS2B, NS3, NS4a, NS4b, NS5). M and E are embedded in the viral membrane.

New virions are assembled on the surface of the endoplasmic reticulum. Dengue virus is transmitted to non-human primates and humans via a mosquito vector (primarily of the genus Aedes) and infection can result in dengue haemorrhagic fever.

This virus, DENV-5 (preusmably), was discovered by Dr Nikolaos Vasilakis and colleagues. It is the 5th member of the species and the first addition in 50-years. DENV-1 to DENV-4, called serotypes (because they interact differently with our immune response to them) are approximately 65% identical in sequence.

How this latest discovery will impact on existing efforts to interrupt, treat or prevent infection and disease remain to be seen. As does a full research publication.

Thanks to FluTrackers for their earlier post on this.

Further Reading:
  1. http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dengue-viruses-22400925