High-throughput techniques are needed to analyze individual virions to understand how viral heterogeneity translates into pathogenesis since in bulk analysis the individual characteristics of virions are lost. Individual Dengue virions (DENV) undergo a maturation that involves a proteolytic cleavage of prM precursor into virion-associated M protein. Here, using a new nanoparticle-based technology, "flow virometry", we compared the maturation of individual DENV produced by BHK-21 and LoVo cells. The latter lacks the furin-protease that mediates prM cleavage. We found that prM is present on about 50% of DENV particles produced in BHK-21 cells and about 85% of DENV virions produced in LoVo, indicating an increase in the fraction of not fully matured virions. Flow virometry allows us to quantify the number of fully mature particles in DENV preparations and proves to be a useful method for studying heterogeneity of the surface proteins of various viruses.
- Flow virometry
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