One of the major defense mechanisms against virus spread in vivo is the blocking of viral infectibility by neutralizing antibodies. We describe here the identification of infectious autophagy-associated dengue vesicles released from infected cells. These vesicles contain viral proteins E, NS1, prM/M, and viral RNA, as well as host lipid droplets and LC3-II, an autophagy marker. The viral RNA can be protected within the autophagic organelles since anti-dengue neutralizing antibodies do not have an effect on the vesicle-mediated transmission that is able to initiate a new round of infection in target cells. Importantly, such infectious vesicles were also detected in a patient serum. Our study suggests that autophagy machinery plays a new role in dengue virus transmission. This discovery explains the inefficiency of neutralizing antibody upon dengue infection as a potential immune evasion mechanism in vivo.
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