The four dengue virus (DENV) serotypes, DENV1 through 4, are endemic throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world. While first infection confers long-term protective immunity against viruses of the infecting serotype, a second infection with virus of a different serotype carries a greater risk of severe dengue disease, including dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. Recent studies demonstrate that humans exposed to DENV infections develop neutralizing antibodies that bind to quaternary epitopes formed by the viral envelope (E) protein dimers or higher-order assemblies required for the formation of the icosahedral viral envelope. Here we show that the quaternary epitope target of the human DENV3-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibody (MAb) 5J7 can be partially transplanted into a DENV1 strain by changing the core residues of the epitope contained within a single monomeric E molecule. MAb 5J7 neutralized the recombinant DENV1/3 strain in cell culture and was protective in a mouse model of infection with the DENV1/3 strain. However, the 5J7 epitope was only partially recreated by transplantation of the core residues because MAb 5J7 bound and neutralized wild-type (WT) DENV3 better than the DENV1/3 recombinant. Our studies demonstrate that it is possible to transplant a large number of discontinuous residues between DENV serotypes and partially recreate a complex antibody epitope, while retaining virus viability. Further refinement of this approach may lead to new tools for measuring epitopespecific antibody responses and new vaccine platforms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science