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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 May 29;104(22):9422-7. Epub 2007 May 15.

Monoclonal antibody-mediated enhancement of dengue virus infection in vitro and in vivo and strategies for prevention.

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Molecular Viral Biology Section and Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Infection with dengue virus (DENV) or any other flavivirus induces cross-reactive, but weakly neutralizing or nonneutralizing, antibodies that recognize epitopes involving the fusion peptide in the envelope glycoprotein. Humanized mAb IgG 1A5, derived from a chimpanzee, shares properties of cross-reactive antibodies. mAb IgG 1A5 up-regulated DENV infection by a mechanism of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) in a variety of Fc receptor-bearing cells in vitro. A 10- to 1,000-fold increase of viral yield in K562 cells, dependent on the DENV serotype, was observed over a range of subneutralizing concentrations of IgG 1A5. A significant increase of DENV-4 viremia titers (up to 100-fold) was also demonstrated in juvenile rhesus monkeys immunized with passively transferred dilutions of IgG 1A5. These results, together with earlier findings of ADE of DENV-2 infection by a polyclonal serum, establish the primate model for analysis of ADE. Considering the abundance of these cross-reactive antibodies, our observations confirm that significant viral amplification could occur during DENV infections in humans with prior infection or with maternally transferred immunity, possibly leading to severe dengue. Strategies to eliminate ADE were explored by altering the antibody Fc structures responsible for binding to Fc receptors. IgG 1A5 variants, containing amino acid substitutions from the Fc region of IgG2 or IgG4 antibodies, reduced but did not eliminate DENV-4-enhancing activity in K562 cells. Importantly, a 9-aa deletion at the N terminus of the CH(2) domain in the Fc region abrogated the enhancing activity.

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