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Can J Microbiol. 2012 Apr;58(4):369-80. doi: 10.1139/w11-137. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Eliciting cross-neutralizing antibodies in mice challenged with a dengue virus envelope domain III expressed in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Third Military Medical University, Key Laboratory of Microbial Engineering under the Educational Committee in Chongqing, Chongqing 400038, People's Republic of China.


Dengue viruses (DENVs) are mosquito-borne infectious pathogens that pose a serious global public health threat, and at present, no therapy or effective vaccines are available. Choosing suitable units as candidates is fundamental for the development of a dengue subunit vaccine. Domain III of the DENV-2 E protein (EDIII) was chosen in the present study and expressed in Escherichia coli by N-terminal fusion to a bacterial leader (pelB), and C-terminal fusion with a 6Ă—His tag based on the functions of DENV structure proteins, especially the neutralizing epitopes on the envelope E protein. After two-step purification using Ni-NTA affinity and cation-exchange chromatography, the His-tagged EDIII was purified up to 98% homogenicity. This recombinant EDIII was able to trigger high levels of neutralizing antibodies in both BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Both the recombinant EDIII and its murine antibodies protected Vero cells from DENV-2 infection. Interestingly, the recombinant EDIII provides at least partial cross-protection against DENV-1 infection. In addition, the EDIII antibodies were able to protect suckling mice from virus challenge in vivo. These data suggest that a candidate molecule based on the small EDIII protein, which has neutralizing epitopes conserved among all 4 DENV serotypes, has important implications.

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