Expression of dengue virus NS3 protein in Drosophila alters its susceptibility to infection.

PMID 26267447


We developed a Drosophila model in which the dengue virus NS3 protein is expressed in a tissue specific and inducible manner. Dengue virus NS3 is a multifunctional protein playing a major role during viral replication. Both protease and helicase domains of NS3 are interacting with human and insect host proteins including innate immune components of the host machinery. We characterized the NS3 transgenic flies showing that NS3 expression did not affect fly development. To further study the links between NS3 and the innate immune response, we challenge the flies with gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Interestingly, the Drosophila transgenic flies expressing NS3 were more susceptible to bacterial infections than control flies. However ubiquitous or immune-specific NS3 expression affected neither the life span nor the response to a non-infectious stress of the flies. In conclusion, we generated a new in vivo system to study the functional impact of DENV NS3 protein on the innate immune response.