[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Humans who experience a primary dengue virus (DENV) infection develop antibodies that preferentially neutralize the homologous serotype responsible for infection. Affected individuals also generate cross-reactive antibodies against heterologous DENV serotypes, which are non-neutralizing. Dengue cross-reactive, non-neutralizing antibodies can enhance infection of Fc receptor bearing cells and, potentially, exacerbate disease. The actual binding sites of human antibody on the DENV particle are not well defined. We characterized the specificity and neutralization potency of polyclonal serum antibodies and memory B-cell derived monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) from 2 individuals exposed to primary DENV infections. Most DENV-specific hMAbs were serotype cross-reactive and weakly neutralizing. Moreover, many hMAbs bound to the viral pre-membrane protein and other sites on the virus that were not preserved when the viral envelope protein was produced as a soluble, recombinant antigen (rE protein). Nonetheless, by modifying the screening procedure to detect rare antibodies that bound to rE, we were able to isolate and map human antibodies that strongly neutralized the homologous serotype of DENV. Our MAbs results indicate that, in these two individuals exposed to primary DENV infections, a small fraction of the total antibody response was responsible for virus neutralization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dengue viruses (DENV) are the etiological agents of dengue fever (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). The DENV complex consists of four closely related viruses designated DENV serotypes 1 through 4. Although infection with one serotype induces cross reactive antibody to all 4 serotypes, the long-term protective antibody response is restricted to the serotype responsible for infection. Cross reactive antibodies appear to enhance infection during a second infection with a different serotype. The goal of the present study was to characterize the binding specificity and functional properties of human DENV immune sera. The study focused on domain III of the viral envelope protein (EDIII), as this region has a well characterized epitope that is recognized by strongly neutralizing serotype-specific mouse monoclonal antibodies (Mabs). Our results demonstrate that EDIII-reactive antibodies are present in primary and secondary DENV immune human sera. Human antibodies bound to a serotype specific epitope on EDIII after primary infection and a serotype cross reactive epitope on EDIII after secondary infection. However, EDIII binding antibodies constituted only a small fraction of the total antibody in immune sera binding to DENV. Studies with complete and EDIII antibody depleted human immune sera demonstrated that EDIII binding antibodies play a minor role in DENV neutralization. We propose that human antibodies directed to other epitopes on the virus are primarily responsible for DENV neutralization. Our results have implications for understanding protective immunity following natural DENV infection and for evaluating DENV vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel genetic vaccine that is based on a Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEE) replicon launched from plasmid DNA is described. The plasmid encodes a VEE replicon under the transcriptional control of the cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter (VEE DNA). The VEE DNA consistently expressed 3- to 15-fold more green fluorescent protein in vitro than did a conventional DNA vaccine. Furthermore, transfection with the DNA-launched VEE replicon induced apoptosis and type I interferon production. Inoculation of mice with VEE DNA encoding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 gp160 significantly increased humoral responses by several orders of magnitude compared to an equal dose of a conventional DNA vaccine. These increases were also observed at 10- and 100-fold-lower doses of the VEE DNA. Cellular immune responses measured by gamma interferon and interleukin 2 enzyme-linked immunospot assay were significantly higher in mice immunized with the VEE DNA at decreased doses. The immune responses induced by the VEE DNA-encoded antigen, however, were independent of an intact type I interferon signaling pathway. Moreover, the DNA-launched VEE replicon induced an efficient prime to a VEE replicon particle (VRP) boost, increasing humoral and cellular immunity by at least 1 order of magnitude compared to VEE DNA only. Importantly, immunization with VEE DNA, as opposed to VRP, did not induce any anti-VRP neutralizing antibodies. Increased potency of DNA vaccines and reduced vector immunity may ultimately have an impact on the design of vaccination strategies in humans.
Journal of Virology 01/2008; 81(24):13412-23. DOI:10.1128/JVI.01799-07 · 4.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As dengue vaccines enter clinical trials, there is a need for rapid and quantitative assays to measure neutralization. We have developed flow-based neutralization assays which generated results similar to those generated by the established, plaque reduction neutralization test. The flow assays are an improvement, as they use human cells and allow for high-throughput screening.