Complement-mediated neutralization of dengue virus requires mannose-binding lectin

Panisadee Avirutnan, Richard E. Hauhart, Mary A. Marovich, Peter Garred, John P. Atkinson, Michael S. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key soluble pathogen recognition protein of the innate immune system that binds specific mannose-containing glycans on the surfaces of microbial agents and initiates complement activation via the lectin pathway. Prior studies showed that MBL-dependent activation of the complement cascade neutralized insect cell-derived West Nile virus (WNV) in cell culture and restricted pathogenesis in mice. Here, we investigated the antiviral activity of MBL in infection by dengue virus (DENV), a related flavivirus. Using a panel of naïve sera from mouse strains deficient in different complement components, we showed that inhibition of infection by insect cell- and mammalian cell-derived DENV was primarily dependent on the lectin pathway. Human MBL also bound to DENV and neutralized infection of all four DENV serotypes through complement activation-dependent and -independent pathways. Experiments with human serum from naïve individuals with inherent variation in the levels of MBL in blood showed a direct correlation between the concentration of MBL and neutralization of DENV; samples with high levels of MBL in blood neutralized DENV more efficiently than those with lower levels. Our studies suggest that allelic variation of MBL in humans may impact complement-dependent control of DENV pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00276-11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011


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