Specific detection of dengue and Zika virus antibodies using envelope proteins with mutations in the conserved fusion loop.
ABSTRACT: Detection of antibodies is widely used for the diagnosis of infections with arthropod-borne flaviviruses including dengue (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV). Due to the emergence of ZIKV in areas endemic for DENV, massive co-circulation is observed and methods to specifically diagnose these infections and differentiate them from each other are mandatory. However, serological assays for flaviviruses in general, and for DENV and ZIKV in particular, are compromised by the high degree of similarities in their proteins which can lead to cross-reacting antibodies and false-positive test results. Cross-reacting flavivirus antibodies mainly target the highly conserved fusion loop (FL) domain in the viral envelope (E-) protein, and we and others have shown previously that recombinant E-proteins bearing FL-mutations strongly reduce cross-reactivity. Here we investigate whether such mutant E-proteins can be used to specifically detect antibodies against DENV and ZIKV in an ELISA-format. IgM antibodies against DENV and ZIKV virus were detected with 100% and 94.2% specificity and 90.7% and 87.5% sensitivity, respectively. For IgG the mutant E-proteins showed cross-reactivity, which was overcome by pre-incubation of the sera with the heterologous antigen. This resulted in specificities of 97.1% and 97.9% and in sensitivities of 100% and 100% for the DENV and ZIKV antigens, respectively. Our results suggest that E-proteins bearing mutations in the FL-domain have a high potential for the development of serological DENV and ZIKV tests with high specificity.
Project description:The recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) in flavivirus-endemic regions highlight the need for sensitive and specific serological tests. Previously we and others reported key fusion loop (FL) residues and/or BC loop (BCL) residues on dengue virus (DENV) envelope protein recognized by flavivirus cross-reactive human monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal sera. To improve ZIKV serodiagnosis, we employed wild type (WT) and FL or FL/BCL mutant virus-like particles (VLP) of ZIKV, DENV1 and West Nile virus (WNV) in enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and tested convalescent-phase serum or plasma samples from reverse-transcription PCR-confirmed cases with different ZIKV, DENV and WNV infections. For IgG ELISA, ZIKV WT-VLP had a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 52.9%, which was improved to 83.3% by FL/BCL mutant VLP and 92.2% by the ratio of relative optical density of mutant to WT VLP. Similarly, DENV1 and WNV WT-VLP had a sensitivity/specificity of 100%/70.0% and 100%/56.3%, respectively; the specificity was improved to 93.3% and 83.0% by FL mutant VLP. For IgM ELISA, ZIKV, DENV1 and WNV WT-VLP had a specificity of 96.4%, 92.3% and 91.4%, respectively, for primary infection; the specificity was improved to 93.7-99.3% by FL or FL/BCL mutant VLP. An algorithm based on a combination of mutant and WT-VLP IgG ELISA is proposed to discriminate primary ZIKV, DENV and WNV infections as well as secondary DENV and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infections; this could be a powerful tool to better understand the seroprevalence and pathogenesis of ZIKV in regions where multiple flaviviruses co-circulate.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infections occur in areas where dengue virus (DENV), West Nile virus (WNV), yellow fever virus (YFV), and other viruses of the genus Flavivirus cocirculate. The envelope (E) proteins of these closely related flaviviruses induce specific long-term immunity, yet subsequent infections are associated with cross-reactive antibody responses that may enhance disease susceptibility and severity. To gain a better understanding of ZIKV infections against a background of similar viral diseases, we examined serological immune responses to ZIKV, WNV, DENV, and YFV infections of humans and nonhuman primates (NHPs). Using printed microarrays, we detected very specific antibody responses to primary infections with probes of recombinant E proteins from 15 species and lineages of flaviviruses pathogenic to humans, while high cross-reactivity between ZIKV and DENV was observed with 11 printed native viruses. Notably, antibodies from human primary ZIKV or secondary DENV infections that occurred in areas where flavivirus is endemic broadly recognized E proteins from many flaviviruses, especially DENV, indicating a strong influence of infection history on immune responses. A predictive algorithm was used to tentatively identify previous encounters with specific flaviviruses based on serum antibody interactions with the multispecies panel of E proteins. These results illustrate the potential impact of exposure to related viruses on the outcome of ZIKV infection and offer considerations for development of vaccines and diagnostics.
Project description:The recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas has challenged diagnostic laboratory testing strategies. At the Wadsworth Center, ZIKV serological testing was performed for over 10,000 specimens, using a combination of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IgM antibodies (Abs) to ZIKV, a polyvalent microsphere immunoassay (MIA) to detect Abs broadly reactive with flaviviruses, and a plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) for further testing. Overall, 42% of patients showed serological evidence of flavivirus infection (primarily past dengue virus [DENV] infection), while 7% possessed IgM Abs to ZIKV and/or DENV. ZIKV IgM Abs typically arose within 3 to 4 days, with only one instance of duration beyond 100 days after reported symptoms. PRNT analysis of 826 IgM-positive specimens showed 7% positive neutralization to ZIKV alone, 9% to DENV alone, and 85% to both ZIKV and DENV. Thus, the extensive Ab cross-reactivity among flaviviruses significantly reduced the value of performing PRNT analysis, especially when a traditional paired serum algorithm with viral neutralization titering was used. Nevertheless, the finding of a negative ZIKV result by PRNT was invaluable for reassuring both physicians and patients. The MIA detected both IgM and IgG, which enabled us to identify patients who presented without IgM anti-ZIKV Abs but still had ZIKV-specific neutralizing Abs. On the basis of these results, a new algorithm, which included an IgM Ab capture (MAC)-ELISA to detect recent infection, a flavivirus MIA to identify patients no longer producing IgM, and a single-dilution PRNT for ZIKV exclusion and occasional discrimination of ZIKV and DENV, was implemented.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and a major international public health concern in many tropical and sub-tropical areas worldwide. DENV is divided into four major serotypes, and infection with one serotype leads to immunity against the same, but not the other serotypes. The specific diagnosis of DENV-infections via antibody-detection is problematic due to the high degree of cross-reactivity displayed by antibodies against related flaviviruses, such as West Nile virus (WNV), Yellow Fever virus (YFV) or Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV). Especially in areas where several flaviviruses co-circulate or in the context of vaccination e.g. against YFV or TBEV, this severely complicates diagnosis and surveillance. Most flavivirus cross-reactive antibodies are produced against the highly conserved fusion loop (FL) domain in the viral envelope (E) protein. We generated insect-cell derived recombinant E-proteins of the four DENV-serotypes which contain point mutations in the FL domain. By using specific mixtures of these mutant antigens, cross-reactivity against heterologous flaviviruses was strongly reduced, enabling sensitive and specific diagnosis of the DENV-infected serum samples in IgG and IgM-measurements. These results have indications for the development of serological DENV-tests with improved specificity.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging flavivirus that can cause birth defects and neurologic complications. Molecular tests are effective for diagnosing acute ZIKV infection, although the majority of infections produce no symptoms at all or present after the narrow window in which molecular diagnostics are dependable. Serology is a reliable method for detecting infections after the viremic period; however, most serological assays have limited specificity due to cross-reactive antibodies elicited by flavivirus infections. Since ZIKV and dengue virus (DENV) widely cocirculate, distinguishing ZIKV infection from DENV infection is particularly important for diagnosing individual cases or for surveillance to coordinate public health responses. Flaviviruses also elicit type-specific antibodies directed to non-cross-reactive epitopes of the infecting virus; such epitopes are attractive targets for the design of antigens for development of serological tests with greater specificity. Guided by comparative epitope modeling of the ZIKV envelope protein, we designed two recombinant antigens displaying unique antigenic regions on domain I (Z-EDI) and domain III (Z-EDIII) of the ZIKV envelope protein. Both the Z-EDI and Z-EDIII antigens consistently detected ZIKV-specific IgG in ZIKV-immune sera but not cross-reactive IgG in DENV-immune sera in late convalescence (>12 weeks postinfection). In contrast, during early convalescence (2 to 12 weeks postinfection), secondary DENV-immune sera and some primary DENV-immune sera cross-reacted with the Z-EDI and Z-EDIII antigens. Analysis of sequential samples from DENV-immune individuals demonstrated that Z-EDIII cross-reactivity peaked in early convalescence and declined steeply over time. The Z-EDIII antigen has much potential as a diagnostic antigen for population-level surveillance and for detecting past infections in patients.
Project description:Objectives:Recent Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks challenged existing laboratory diagnostic standards, especially for serology-based methods. Because of the genetic and structural similarity of ZIKV with other flaviviruses, this results in cross-reactive antibodies, which confounds serological interpretations. Methods:Plasma from Singapore ZIKV patients was screened longitudinally for antibody responses and neutralising capacities against ZIKV. Samples from healthy controls, ZIKV patients and DENV patients were further assessed using ZIKV and DENV peptides of precursor membrane (prM), envelope (E) or non-structural 1 (NS1) viral proteins in a peptide-based ELISA for epitope identification. Identified epitopes were re-validated and diagnostically evaluated using sera of patients with DENV, bacteria or unknown infections from Thailand. Results:Long-lasting ZIKV-neutralising antibodies were elicited during ZIKV infection. Thirteen potential linear B-cell epitopes were identified, and of these, four common flavivirus, three ZIKV-specific and one DENV-specific differential epitopes had more than 50% sensitivity and specificity. Notably, ZIKV-specific peptide 26 on domain I/II of E protein (amino acid residues 271-288) presented 80% sensitivity and 85.7% specificity. Importantly, the differential epitopes also showed significance in differentiating non-flavivirus patient samples. Conclusion:Linear B-cell epitope candidates to differentiate between ZIKV and DENV infections were identified, providing the first step towards the design of a much-needed serology-based assay.
Project description:The Flaviviridae virus family was named after the Yellow-fever virus, and the latin term flavi means "of golden color". Dengue, caused by Dengue virus (DENV), is one of the most important infectious diseases worldwide. A sensitive and differential diagnosis is crucial for patient management, especially due to the occurrence of serological cross-reactivity to other co-circulating flaviviruses. This became particularly important with the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in areas were DENV seroprevalence was already high. We developed a sensitive and specific diagnostic test based on gold nanorods (GNR) functionalized with DENV proteins as nanosensors. These were able to detect as little as one picogram of anti-DENV monoclonal antibodies and highly diluted DENV-positive human sera. The nanosensors could differentiate DENV-positive sera from other flavivirus-infected patients, including ZIKV, and were even able to distinguish which DENV serotype infected individual patients. Readouts are obtained in ELISA-plate spectrophotometers without the need of specific devices.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus responsible for thousands of cases of severe fetal malformations and neurological disease since its introduction to Brazil in 2013. Antibodies to flaviviruses can be protective, resulting in lifelong immunity to reinfection by homologous virus. However, cross-reactive antibodies can complicate flavivirus diagnostics and promote more severe disease, as noted after serial dengue virus (DENV) infections. The endemic circulation of DENV in South America and elsewhere raises concerns that preexisting flavivirus immunity may modulate ZIKV disease and transmission potential. Here, we report on the ability of human monoclonal antibodies and immune sera derived from dengue patients to neutralize contemporary epidemic ZIKV strains. We demonstrate that a class of human monoclonal antibodies isolated from DENV patients neutralizes ZIKV in cell culture and is protective in a lethal murine model. We also tested a large panel of convalescent-phase immune sera from humans exposed to primary and repeat DENV infection. Although ZIKV is most closely related to DENV compared to other human-pathogenic flaviviruses, most DENV immune sera (73%) failed to neutralize ZIKV, while others had low (50% effective concentration [EC50], <1:100 serum dilution; 18%) or moderate to high (EC50, >1:100 serum dilution; 9%) levels of cross-neutralizing antibodies. Our results establish that ZIKV and DENV share epitopes that are targeted by neutralizing, protective human antibodies. The availability of potently neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies provides an immunotherapeutic approach to control life-threatening ZIKV infection and also points to the possibility of repurposing DENV vaccines to induce cross-protective immunity to ZIKV. IMPORTANCE:ZIKV is an emerging arbovirus that has been associated with severe neurological birth defects and fetal loss in pregnant women and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. Currently, there is no vaccine or therapeutic for ZIKV. The identification of a class of antibodies (envelope dimer epitope 1 [EDE1]) that potently neutralizes ZIKV in addition to all four DENV serotypes points to a potential immunotherapeutic to combat ZIKV. This is especially salient given the precedent of antibody therapy to treat pregnant women infected with other viruses associated with microcephaly, such as cytomegalovirus and rubella virus. Furthermore, the identification of a functionally conserved epitope between ZIKV and DENV raises the possibility that a vaccine may be able to elicit neutralizing antibodies against both viruses.
Project description:The recent spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas and Asia necessitates an increased preparedness for improved maternal and perinatal health and blood safety. However, serological cross-reactions, especially to Dengue virus (DENV), complicate ZIKV antibody serodiagnosis. A novel "pan-Flavi" suspension multiplex immunoassay (PFSMIA) using 25 antigens, whole virus (WV), non-structural protein 1 (NS1), and envelope (E) proteins, from 7 zoonotic flaviviruses for specific detection of ZIKV and DENV IgM and IgG was developed. Patterns of antibody cross-reactivity, avidity, and kinetics were established in 104 sera from returning travelers with known ZIKV and DENV infections. PFSMIA gave IgM- and IgG-sensitivities for both viruses of 96-100%, compared to an immunofluorescence assay. Main IgM cross-reactions were to NS1, for IgG to the E and WV antigens. Infecting virus yielded reactivity to several antigens of the homologous virus, while cross-reactions tended to occur only to a single antigen from heterologous virus(es). A specificity-enhancing computer procedure took into account antibody isotype, number of antibody-reactive antigens per virus, avidity, average degree of cross-reactivity to heterologous flavivirus antigens, and reactivity changes in serial sera. It classified all 50 cases correctly. Applied to sera from 200 pregnant women and 173 blood donors from Sweden, one blood donor was found ZIKV NS1 IgM positive, and another as ZIKV NS1 IgG positive. These samples did not react with other ZIKV antigens and were thereby judged as false-positives. PFSMIA provided sensitive and specific ZIKV and DENV serology, warranting high-throughput serological surveillance and a minimized need for laborious and expensive virus neutralization assays.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Zika virus (ZIKV) and Dengue virus (DENV) are often co-endemic. The high protein-sequence homology of flaviviruses renders IgG induced by and directed against them highly cross-reactive against their antigen(s), as observed on a large set of sera, leading to poorly reliable sero-diagnosis. METHODS:We selected Domain III of the ZIKV Envelope (ZEDIII) sequence, which is virus specific. This recombinant domain was expressed and purified for the specific detection of ZEDIII-induced IgG by ELISA from ZIKV-RT-PCR-positive, ZIKV-IgM-positive, flavivirus-positive but ZIKV-negative, or flavivirus-negative sera. We also assessed the reactivity of ZEDIII-specific human antibodies against EDIII of DENV serotype 4 (D4EDIII) as a specific control. Sera from ZEDIII-immunized mice were also tested. RESULTS:Cross-reactivity of IgG from 5,600 sera against total inactivated DENV or ZIKV was high (71.0% [69.1; 72.2]), whereas the specificity and sensitivity calculated using a representative cohort (242 sera) reached 90% [84.0; 95.8] and 92% [84.5; 99.5], respectively, using a ZEDIII-based ELISA. Moreover, purified human IgG against D2EDIII or D4EDIII did not bind to ZEDIII and we observed no D4EDIII reactivity with ZIKV-induced mouse polyclonal IgGs. CONCLUSIONS:We developed a ZEDIII-based ELISA that can discriminate between past or current DENV and ZIKV infections, allowing the detection of a serological scar from other flaviviruses. This could be used to confirm exposure of pregnant women or to follow the spread of an endemic disease.