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Virology. 2003 Feb 1;306(1):170-80.

Enhancing biosynthesis and secretion of premembrane and envelope proteins by the chimeric plasmid of dengue virus type 2 and Japanese encephalitis virus.

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Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Post Office Box 2087, Fort Collins, CO 80522, USA.


We have constructed a series of plasmids encoding premembrane (prM) and envelope (E) protein genes of dengue virus type 2 (DEN-2). These plasmids included an authentic DEN-2 prM-E construct (pCBD2-14-6), and two chimeric constructs, 90% DEN-2 E-10% Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus E (pCB9D2-1J-4-3) and 80% DEN-2 E-20% JE E (pCB8D2-2J-2-9-1). Monoclonal antibody (MAb) reactivity indicated that all three plasmids expressed authentic DEN-2 virus E protein epitopes representative of flavivirus domains 1, 2, and 3. However, only the pCB8D2-2J-2-9-1 construct secreted high levels of prM, M (membrane), and E proteins into the culture fluid of plasmid-transformed COS-1 cells. The major portion of the prM and E proteins expressed by COS-1 cells transformed by pCBD2-14-6 or pCB9D2-4-3 plasmids remained membrane-bound. The results supported the notion that an unidentified membrane retention sequence is located between E-397 and E-436 of DEN-2 virus E protein. Replacing the carboxyl-terminal 20% of DEN-2 E (397-450) with the corresponding JE sequence had no effect on anti-DEN-2 MAb reactivity, indicating that this region is antigenically inert, although it is required for antigen secretion. Plasmid pCBD2-2J-2-9-1, which expressed secreted forms of prM/M and E that have the potential to form subviral particles, was superior to other constructs in stimulating an antibody response. Ninety percent neutralization titers ranging from 1:40 to >1:1000 were observed in seven of nine serum specimens from pCB8D2-2J-2-9-1-immunized mice. Eleven of twelve 2-day-old neonatal mice, derived from a pCB8D2-2J-2-9-1 immunized female mouse, survived intraperitoneal challenge of DEN-2 New Guinea C virus.

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