Optimization and scale-up production of Zika virus ?NS1 in Escherichia coli: application of Response Surface Methodology.
ABSTRACT: Diagnosing Zika virus (ZIKV) infections has been challenging due to the cross-reactivity of induced antibodies with other flavivirus. The concomitant occurrence of ZIKV and Dengue virus (DENV) in endemic regions requires diagnostic tools with the ability to distinguish these two viral infections. Recent studies demonstrated that immunoassays using the C-terminal fragment of ZIKV NS1 antigen (?NS1) can be used to discriminate ZIKV from DENV infections. In order to be used in serological tests, the expression/solubility of ?NS1 and growth of recombinant E. coli strain were optimized by Response Surface Methodology. Temperature, time and IPTG concentration were evaluated. According to the model, the best condition determined in small scale cultures was 21 °C for 20 h with 0.7 mM of IPTG, which predicted 7.5 g/L of biomass and 962 mg/L of ?NS1. These conditions were validated and used in a 6-L batch in the bioreactor, which produced 6.4 g/L of biomass and 500 mg/L of ?NS1 in 12 h of induction. The serological ELISA test performed with purified ?NS1 showed low cross-reactivity with antibodies from DENV-infected human subjects. Denaturation of ?NS1 decreased the detection of anti-ZIKV antibodies, thus indicating the contribution of conformational epitopes and confirming the importance of properly folded ?NS1 for the specificity of the serological analyses. Obtaining high yields of soluble ?NS1 supports the viability of an effective serologic diagnostic test capable of differentiating ZIKV from other flavivirus infections.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen causing a febrile illness with arthralgia, conjunctivitis and rash. The complications include Guillain-Barré syndrome, congenital brain and other abnormalities and miscarriage. The serodiagnosis of ZIKV infection is hampered by cross-reactivity with other members of the Flavivirus family, notably dengue (DENV). This report describes a novel serological platform for the diagnosis of ZIKV infection. The approach utilizes time-resolved Förster resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) elicited by two chromophore-labeled proteins (a ZIKV antigen and a super-antigen) simultaneously binding to a given antibody molecule. The antigen used in the assay is ZIKV non-structural protein 1 (NS1) and the super-antigen is bacterial protein L. Three assay variants were developed: the first measuring all anti-ZIKV-NS1 antibodies (LFRET), the second measuring IgM and IgA (acute-LFRET) and the third measuring IgG (immunity-LFRET). The assays were evaluated with a panel of samples from clinical ZIKV cases in travelers (n = 25) and seronegative (n = 24) samples. DENV (n = 38), yellow fever (n = 16) and tick-borne-encephalitis (n = 20) seropositive samples were examined for assessment of flavivirus cross-reactivity. The diagnostic sensitivities of the respective LFRET assays were 92%, 100% and 83%, and the diagnostic specificities 88%, 95% and 100% for LFRET, acute-LFRET and immunity-LFRET. Furthermore, we evaluated the assays against a widely-used commercial ELISA. In conclusion, the new FRET-based serological approaches based on NS1 protein are applicable to diagnosing zika virus infections in travelers and differentiating them from other flavivirus infections.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that emerged recently as a global health threat, causing a pandemic in the Americas. ZIKV infection mostly causes mild disease, but is linked to devastating congenital birth defects and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults. The high level of cross-reactivity among flaviviruses and their cocirculation has complicated serological approaches to differentially detect ZIKV and dengue virus (DENV) infections, accentuating the urgent need for a specific and sensitive serological test. We previously generated a ZIKV nonstructural protein 1 (NS1)-specific human monoclonal antibody, which we used to develop an NS1-based competition ELISA. Well-characterized samples from RT-PCR-confirmed patients with Zika and individuals exposed to other flavivirus infections or vaccination were used in a comprehensive analysis to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the NS1 blockade-of-binding (BOB) assay, which was established in laboratories in five countries (Nicaragua, Brazil, Italy, United Kingdom, and Switzerland). Of 158 sera/plasma from RT-PCR-confirmed ZIKV infections, 145 (91.8%) yielded greater than 50% inhibition. Of 171 patients with primary or secondary DENV infections, 152 (88.9%) scored negative. When the control group was extended to patients infected by other flaviviruses, other viruses, or healthy donors (n = 540), the specificity was 95.9%. We also analyzed longitudinal samples from DENV-immune and DENV-naive ZIKV infections and found inhibition was achieved within 10 d postonset of illness and maintained over time. Thus, the Zika NS1 BOB assay is sensitive, specific, robust, simple, low-cost, and accessible, and can detect recent and past ZIKV infections for surveillance, seroprevalence studies, and intervention trials.
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: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: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:BACKGROUND:Zika virus (ZIKV) had spread rapidly in the past few years in southern hemisphere where dengue virus (DENV) had caused epidemic problems for over half a century. The high degree of cross-reactivity of Envelope (E) protein specific antibody responses between ZIKV and DENV made it challenging to perform differential diagnosis between the two infections using standard ELISA method for E protein. METHODS:Using an IgG capture ELISA, we investigated the kinetics of nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) antibody response during natural ZIKV infection and the cross-reactivity to NS1 proteins using convalescent sera obtained from patients infected by either DENV or ZIKV. RESULTS:The analyses of the sequential serum samples from ZIKV infected individuals showed NS1 specific Abs appeared 2 weeks later than E specific Abs. Notably, human sera from ZIKV infected individuals did not contain cross-reactivity to NS1 proteins of any of the four DENV serotypes. Furthermore, four out of five NS1-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) isolated from ZIKV infected individuals did not bind to DENV NS1 proteins. Only limited amount of cross-reactivity to ZIKV NS1 was displayed in 108 DENV1 immune sera at 1:100 dilution. CONCLUSIONS:The high degree of NS1-specific Abs in both ZIKV and DENV infection revealed here suggest that NS1-based diagnostics would significantly improve the differential diagnosis between DENV and ZIKV infections.
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: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 explosive spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) and associated complications in flavivirus-endemic regions underscore the need for sensitive and specific serodiagnostic tests to distinguish ZIKV, dengue virus (DENV) and other flavivirus infections. Compared with traditional envelope protein-based assays, several nonstructural protein 1 (NS1)-based assays showed improved specificity, however, none can detect and discriminate three flaviviruses in a single assay. Moreover, secondary DENV infection and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection, both common in endemic regions, cannot be discriminated. In this study, we developed a high-throughput and multiplex IgG microsphere immunoassay (MIA) using the NS1 proteins of DENV1-DENV4, ZIKV and West Nile virus (WNV) to test samples from reverse-transcription-polymerase-chain reaction-confirmed cases, including primary DENV1, DENV2, DENV3, WNV and ZIKV infections, secondary DENV infection, and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection. Combination of four DENV NS1 IgG MIAs revealed a sensitivity of 94.3% and specificity of 97.2% to detect DENV infection. The ZIKV and WNV NS1 IgG MIAs had a sensitivity/specificity of 100%/87.9% and 86.1%/78.4%, respectively. A positive correlation was found between the readouts of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and MIA for different NS1 tested. Based on the ratio of relative median fluorescence intensity of ZIKV NS1 to DENV1 NS1, the IgG MIA can distinguish ZIKV infection with previous DENV infection and secondary DENV infection with a sensitivity of 88.9-90.0% and specificity of 91.7-100.0%. The multiplex and high-throughput assay could be applied to serodiagnosis and serosurveillance of DENV, ZIKV and WNV infections in endemic regions.
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.