Reduction in sphingosine kinase 1 influences the susceptibility to dengue virus infection by altering antiviral responses Academic Article uri icon


  • Sphingosine kinase (SK) 1 is a host kinase that enhances some viral infections. Here we investigated the ability of SK1 to modulate dengue virus (DENV) infection in vitro. Overexpression of SK1 did not alter DENV infection; however, targeting SK1 through chemical inhibition resulted in reduced DENV RNA and infectious virus release. DENV infection of SK1⁻/ ⁻ murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) resulted in inhibition of infection in an immortalized line (iMEF) but enhanced infection in primary MEFs (1°MEFs). Global cellular gene expression profiles showed expected innate immune mRNA changes in DENV-infected WT but no induction of these responses in SK1⁻/⁻  iMEFs. Reverse transciption PCR demonstrated a low-level induction of IFN-β and poor induction of mRNA for the interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) viperin, IFIT1 and CXCL10 in DENV-infected SK1⁻/⁻  compared with WT iMEFs. Similarly, reduced induction of ISGs was observed in SK1⁻/⁻  1°MEFs, even in the face of high-level DENV replication. In both iMEFs and 1°MEFs, DENV infection induced production of IFN-β protein. Additionally, higher basal levels of antiviral factors (IRF7, CXCL10 and OAS1) were observed in uninfected SK1⁻/⁻  iMEFs but not 1°MEFs. This suggests that, in this single iMEF line, lack of SK1 upregulates the basal levels of factors that may protect cells against DENV infection. More importantly, regardless of the levels of DENV replication, all cells that lacked SK1 produced IFN-β but were refractory to induction of ISGs such as viperin, IFIT1 and CXCL10. Based on these findings, we propose new roles for SK1 in affecting innate responses that regulate susceptibility to DENV infection.


  • Clarke, JN
  • Davies, LK
  • Calvert, JK
  • Gliddon, BL
  • Al Shujari, WH
  • Aloia, AL
  • Helbig, KJ
  • Beard, MR
  • Pitson, SM
  • Carr, JM

publication date

  • 2016