Emerging role of lipid droplets in Aedes aegypti immune response against bacteria and Dengue virus

Ana Beatriz Ferreira Barletta, Liliane Rosa Alves, Maria Clara L. Nascimento Silva, Shuzhen Sim, George Dimopoulos, Sally Liechocki, Clarissa M. Maya-Monteiro, Marcos H.Ferreira Sorgine

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36 Scopus citations


In mammals, lipid droplets (LDs) are ubiquitous organelles that modulate immune and inflammatory responses through the production of lipid mediators. In insects, it is unknown whether LDs play any role during the development of immune responses. We show that Aedes aegypti Aag2 cells-an immune responsive cell lineage-accumulates LDs when challenged with Enterobacter cloacae, Sindbis, and Dengue viruses. Microarray analysis of Aag2 challenged with E.cloacae or infected with Dengue virus revealed high transcripts levels of genes associated with lipid storage and LDs biogenesis, correlating with the increased LDs numbers in those conditions. Similarly, in mosquitoes, LDs accumulate in midgut cells in response to Serratia marcescens and Sindbis virus or when the native microbiota proliferates, following a blood meal. Also, constitutive activation of Toll and IMD pathways by knocking-down their respective negative modulators (Cactus and Caspar) increases LDs numbers in the midgut. Our results show for the first time an infection-induced LDs accumulation in response to both bacterial and viral infections in Ae. Aegypti, and we propose a role for LDs in mosquito immunity. These findings open new venues for further studies in insect immune responses associated with lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19928
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Feb 18 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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