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J Virol. 2008 Sep;82(17):8828-37. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00606-08. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Characterization of dengue virus complex-specific neutralizing epitopes on envelope protein domain III of dengue 2 virus.

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Department of Pathology, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555-0609, USA.


The surface of the mature dengue virus (DENV) particle is covered with 180 envelope (E) proteins arranged as homodimers that lie relatively flat on the virion surface. Each monomer consists of three domains (ED1, ED2, and ED3), of which ED3 contains the critical neutralization determinant(s). In this study, a large panel of DENV-2 recombinant ED3 mutant proteins was used to physically and biologically map the epitopes of five DENV complex-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). All five MAbs recognized a single antigenic site that includes residues K310, I312, P332, L389, and W391. The DENV complex antigenic site was located on an upper lateral surface of ED3 that was distinct but overlapped with a previously described DENV-2 type-specific antigenic site on ED3. The DENV complex-specific MAbs required significantly higher occupancy levels of available ED3 binding sites on the virion, compared to DENV-2 type-specific MAbs, in order to neutralize virus infectivity. Additionally, there was a great deal of variability in the neutralization efficacy of the DENV complex-specific MAbs with representative strains of the four DENVs. Overall, the differences in physical binding and potency of neutralization observed between DENV complex- and type-specific MAbs in this study demonstrate the critical role of the DENV type-specific antibodies in the neutralization of virus infectivity.

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