Dengue virus: structure, serotypes and mode of transmission

Dengue virus: structure, serotypes and mode of transmission


  • Dengue is an arthropod borne virus belongs to family Flaviviridae and genus Flavivirus.
  • Dengue virus is transmitted between people by female mosquitoes Ades aegypti and Ades albopidus, which are found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Structure of Dengue virus:

  • Dengue virus is spherical enveloped viruses with approximately 40-60 nm in diameter.
  • Dengue virus has single-stranded Positive-sense RNA genome of about 11 Kbp long, surrounded by a nucleocapsid and covered by a lipid envelope that contains the viral glycoproteins.


I. Genome:

  • Dengue has + SS RNA as genome which contains 3 structural gene and 7 non-structural gene.
  • The RNA genome lack poly A tail at 3’end
  • Genome contains a single open reading frame (ORF) flanked by two untranslated regions (5’ and 3’UTRs).
  • The 5’ and 3’ terminal RNA sequences of the genome form large stem loop structures known as stem loop A (SLA) and 3’ stem loop (3’ SL) respectively, both essential for viral replication.
  • Structural gene codes for core protein (capsid), membrane associated protein and envelope protein.
  • Non-structural gene codes for non-structural proteins such as NS1, NS2a, NS2b, NS3, NS4a, NS4b and NS5 which helps in viral replication.
  • NS5 is the RNA dependent RNA polymerase.

II. Capsid:

  • Icosahedral capsid, 20-30 nm in diameter
  • Spherical shape

III. Envelope:

  • Envelope contains glycoprotein spike which has haemagglutinin activity.

Serotypes of Dengue

  • There are 4 serotype of Dengue designated as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4.
  • All 4 serotypes have +ss RNA as genome of 11 Kbp length.
  • DENV-5 is a new serotype which has recently been described from Malaysia

Mode of transmission:

  • Dengue is transmitted by female Ades aegypti and Ades albopidus
  • In order to transmit dengue between person, Mosquitoes must feed blood of patient during 5 days period when large amount of virus are present in blood.
  • Inside mosquito, virus requires additional 8-12 days incubation period before it can be transmitted to healthy person.
  • The dengue virus mixed with saliva of mosquito and transmitted intradermally during biting.
  • In rare cases dengue is transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant and from infected mother to foetus.

Dengue virus: structure, serotypes and mode of transmission