Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Efficient immune responses against dengue virus

Dengue is a mosquito-mediated viral infection caused by different serotypes of dengue viruses, and symptoms vary greatly from mild fever to the potentially fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). Accurate detection of anti-dengue virus antibodies is complicated but recent EU research promises to improve diagnostics.
Efficient immune responses against dengue virus
The antibody response elicited by the dengue virus consists of a mixture of serotype-specific and serotype cross-reactive antibodies. Neutralising antibodies are produced mainly against the infectious serotype and thus do not protect against other dengue virus serotypes. This puts infected individuals at risk of contracting other virus serotypes and developing DHF.

Detailed characterisation of the B cell-mediated immune responses in dengue infection is, therefore, essential for the development of diagnostic tools and effective vaccines. Scientists of the EU-funded 'Antigenic landscape analysis of dengue virus serotypes' (ALADVS) set out to search for such immunogenic epitopes common to the different dengue virus serotypes. The main objective was to identify non-cross–reactive and serotype-specific epitopes.

To this end, a genome fragment phage display library (GFPDL) was used to identify viral epitopes that reacted with monoclonal antibodies against the virus. The method of phage display entails the cloning of viral genomic fragments into the bacteriophage-cloning vector that are subsequently displayed on the surface of the phage. These peptides are screened for their interaction with immobilised antibodies or other target proteins.

For human-generated IgM antibodies, scientists had to increase the affinity of the method by providing multivalent viral epitopes. This led to the identification of numerous peptides, the majority of which were directed against the viral envelope, the most immunodominant component of DENV-1 and -2.

Through a list of immunogenic epitopes against different dengue virus serotypes, the ALADVS scientists hope to improve existing clinical diagnostic tests and identify specific antibodies in human sera with no cross-reactivity issues. Importantly, these epitopes could be exploited in the design of anti-dengue virus vaccines, thereby providing a preventative solution to this serious health threat.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top