A Simple and High-Throughput ELISA-Based Neutralization Assay for the Determination of Anti-Flavivirus Neutralizing Antibodies.
ABSTRACT: Mosquito-borne flavivirus infections, including dengue virus and Zika virus, are major public health threats globally. While the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is considered the gold standard for determining neutralizing antibody levels to flaviviruses, the assay is time-consuming and laborious. This study, therefore, aimed to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based microneutralization test (EMNT) for the detection of neutralizing antibodies to mosquito-borne flaviviruses. The inhibition of viral growth due to neutralizing antibodies was determined colorimetrically by using EMNT. Given the significance of Fc?-receptors (Fc?R) in antibody-mediated neutralization and antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of flavivirus infection, non-Fc?R and Fc?R-expressing cell lines were used in the EMNT to allow the detection of the sum of neutralizing and immune-enhancing antibody activity as the neutralizing titer. Using anti-flavivirus monoclonal antibodies and clinical samples, the utility of EMNT was evaluated by comparing the end-point titers of the EMNT and the PRNT. The correlation between EMNT and PRNT titers was strong, indicating that EMNT was robust and reproducible. The new EMNT assay combines the biological functional assessment of virus neutralization activity and the technical advantages of ELISA and, is simple, reliable, practical, and could be automated for high-throughput implementation in flavivirus surveillance studies and vaccine trials.
Project description:The production of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) is a correlate of protection for many human vaccines, including currently licensed vaccines against flaviviruses. NAbs are typically measured using a plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Despite its extensive use, parameters that impact the performance of the PRNT have not been investigated from a mechanistic perspective. The results of a recent phase IIb clinical trial of a tetravalent dengue virus (DENV) vaccine suggest that NAbs, as measured using a PRNT performed with Vero cells, do not correlate with protection. This surprising finding highlights the importance of understanding how well the PRNT captures the complexity of the NAb response to DENV. In this study, we demonstrated that the structural heterogeneity of flaviviruses arising from inefficient virion maturation impacts the results of neutralization assays in a cell type-dependent manner. Neutralization titers of several monoclonal antibodies were significantly reduced when assayed on Vero cells compared to Raji cells expressing DC-SIGNR. This pattern can be explained by differences in the efficiency with which partially mature flaviviruses attach to each cell type, rather than a differential capacity of antibody to block infection. Vero cells are poorly permissive to the fraction of virions that are most sensitive to neutralization. Analysis of sera from recipients of live-attenuated monovalent DENV vaccine candidates revealed a strong correlation between the sensitivity of serum antibodies to the maturation state of DENV and cell type-dependent patterns of neutralization. Cross-reactive patterns of neutralization may be underrepresented by the "gold-standard" PRNT that employs Vero cells.Cell type-dependent patterns of neutralization describe a differential capacity of antibodies to inhibit virus infection when assayed on multiple cellular substrates. In this study, we established a link between antibodies that neutralize infection in a cell type-dependent fashion and those sensitive to the maturation state of the flavivirus virion. We demonstrated that cell type-dependent neutralization reflects a differential capacity to measure neutralization of viruses that are incompletely mature. Partially mature virions that most efficiently bind maturation state-sensitive antibodies are poorly represented by assays typically used in support of flavivirus vaccine development. The selection of cellular substrate for neutralization assays may significantly impact evaluation of the neutralization potency of the polyclonal response. These data suggest that current assays do not adequately capture the full complexity of the neutralizing antibody response and may hinder the identification of correlates of protection following flavivirus vaccination.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The 4 dengue virus serotypes (DENV1-4) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are related mosquito-borne flaviviruses of major importance globally. While monoclonal antibodies and plasma from DENV-immune donors can neutralize or enhance ZIKV in vitro and in small-animal models, and vice versa, the extent, duration, and significance of cross-reactivity in humans remains unknown, particularly in flavivirus-endemic regions.<h4>Methods</h4>We studied neutralizing antibodies to ZIKV and DENV1-4 in longitudinal serologic specimens collected through 3 years after infection from people in Latin America and Asia with laboratory-confirmed DENV infections. We also evaluated neutralizing antibodies to ZIKV and DENV1-4 in patients with Zika through 6 months after infection.<h4>Results</h4>In patients with Zika, the highest neutralizing antibody titers were to ZIKV, with low-level cross-reactivity to DENV1-4 that was greater in DENV-immune individuals. We found that, in primary and secondary DENV infections, neutralizing antibody titers to ZIKV were markedly lower than to the infecting DENV and heterologous DENV serotypes. Cross-neutralization was greatest in early convalescence, then ZIKV neutralization decreased, remaining at low levels over time.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Patterns of antibody cross-neutralization suggest that ZIKV lies outside the DENV serocomplex. Neutralizing antibody titers can distinguish ZIKV from DENV infections when all viruses are analyzed simultaneously. These findings have implications for understanding natural immunity and vaccines.
Project description:Neutralizing antibodies are the key mediators of protective immune response to flaviviruses after both infection and vaccination. Plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is considered the "gold standard" for measurement of the immunity. To date, little is known regarding neutralizing antibody response to Tembusu virus (TMUV), a novel flavivirus emerging in ducks in 2010. Here, we developed a PRNT for detection of TMUV neutralizing antibodies. Following optimization and validation, the PRNT was applied to test serum samples from different flocks of ducks. Using sera prepared in experimental conditions, the levels of 50% end point titer (neutralizing dose, ND50) generated from positive sera (5,012-79,433) were significantly higher than those from mock-infected sera (10 to 126), indicating that the test can be used in the detection of TMUV-specific neutralizing antibodies. Dose-dependent efficacy test of a cell-derived 180th passage of a plaque-purified virus of the PS TMUV isolate (PS180) in combined with immunization-challenge experiments revealed that ND50 titer of ~1,258 is the minimum capable of providing adequate protection against challenge with virulent TMUV. In the investigation of serum samples collected from three flocks infected by TMUV and four flocks vaccinated with a licensed attenuated vaccine (the 120th passage virus), ND50 titers peaked at 1 week after both disease onset (7,943-125,893) and vaccination (3,612-79,432), and high levels of ND50 titer were detected in sera collected at 15 weeks after disease onset (5,012-63,095) and 17 weeks after vaccination (3,981-25,119). Together these findings demonstrated that spontaneous and experimental infections by TMUV and vaccination with the licensed TMUV attenuated vaccine elicit high, long-lasting neutralizing antibodies. The highest ND50 titer of neutralizing antibodies elicited by PS180 was determined to be 3,162, suggesting that attenuation of TMUV by more passages has a dramatic impact on the neutralizing antibody response of the virus.
Project description:Zoonotic pathogens such as arboviruses have comprised a significant proportion of emerging infectious diseases in humans. The role of wildlife species as reservoirs for arboviruses is poorly understood, especially in endemic areas such as Southeast Asia. This study aims to determine the exposure history of different macaque species from national parks in Thailand to mosquito-borne flaviviruses and alphavirus by testing the serum samples collected from 25 northern pigtailed macaques, 33 stump-tailed macaques, and 4 long-tailed macaques for the presence of antibodies against dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses by plaque reduction neutralization assay. Specific neutralizing antibodies against Dengue virus (DENV1-4) and Zika virus (ZIKV) were mainly found in stump-tailed macaques, whereas neutralizing antibody titers were not detected in long-tailed macaques and pigtailed macaques as determined by 90% plaque reduction neutralization assay (PRNT<sub>90</sub>). One long-tailed macaque captured from the south of Thailand exhibited antibody titers against chikungunya virus (CHIKV), suggesting enzootic of this virus to nonhuman primates (NHPs) in Thailand. Encroachment of human settlements into the forest has increased the interface that exposes humans to zoonotic pathogens such as arboviruses found in monkeys. Nonhuman primates living in different regions of Thailand showed different patterns of arboviral infections. The presence of neutralizing antibodies among wild monkeys in Thailand strongly suggests the existence of sylvatic cycles for DENV, ZIKV, and CHIKV in Thailand. The transmission of dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses among wild macaques may have important public health implications.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV), from the genus flavivirus of the family flaviviridae, causes serious health problems globally. Human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAb) can be used to elucidate the mechanisms of neutralization and antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of DENV infections, leading to the development of a vaccine or therapeutic antibodies. Here, we generated eight HuMAb clones from an Indonesian patient infected with DENV. These HuMAbs exhibited the typical characteristics of weak neutralizing antibodies including high cross-reactivity with other flaviviruses and targeting of the fusion loop epitope (FLE). However, one of the HuMAbs, 3G9, exhibited strong neutralization (NT<sub>50</sub> < 0.1 μg/ml) and possessed a high somatic hyper-mutation rate of the variable region, indicating affinity-maturation. Administration of this antibody significantly prolonged the survival of interferon-α/β/γ receptor knockout C57BL/6 mice after a lethal DENV challenge. Additionally, Fc-modified 3G9 that had lost their in vitro ADE activity showed enhanced therapeutic potency in vivo and competed strongly with an ADE-prone antibody in vitro. Taken together, the affinity-matured FLE-targeting antibody 3G9 exhibits promising features for therapeutic application including a low NT<sub>50</sub> value, potential for treatment of various kinds of mosquito-borne flavivirus infection, and suppression of ADE. This study demonstrates the therapeutic potency of affinity-matured FLE-targeting antibodies.
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:Studies have demonstrated cross-reactivity of anti-dengue virus (DENV) antibodies in human sera against Zika virus (ZIKV), promoting increased ZIKV infection in vitro. However, the correlation between in vitro and in vivo findings is not well characterized. Thus, we evaluated the impact of heterotypic flavivirus immunity on ZIKV titers in biofluids of rhesus macaques. Animals previously infected (?420 days) with DENV2, DENV4, or yellow fever virus were compared to flavivirus-naïve animals following infection with a Brazilian ZIKV strain. Sera from DENV-immune macaques demonstrated cross-reactivity with ZIKV by antibody-binding and neutralization assays prior to ZIKV infection, and promoted increased ZIKV infection in cell culture assays. Despite these findings, no significant differences between flavivirus-naïve and immune animals were observed in viral titers, neutralizing antibody levels, or immune cell kinetics following ZIKV infection. These results indicate that prior infection with heterologous flaviviruses neither conferred protection nor increased observed ZIKV titers in this non-human primate ZIKV infection model.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Zika virus has recently spread to South- and Central America, causing congenital birth defects and neurological complications. Many people at risk are flavivirus pre-immune due to prior infections with other flaviviruses (e.g. dengue virus) or flavivirus vaccinations. Since pre-existing cross-reactive immunity can potentially modulate antibody responses to Zika virus infection and may affect the outcome of disease, we analyzed fine-specificity as well as virus-neutralizing and infection-enhancing activities of antibodies induced by a primary Zika virus infection in flavivirus-naïve as well as yellow fever- and/or tick-borne encephalitis-vaccinated individuals. METHODOLOGY:Antibodies in sera from convalescent Zika patients with and without vaccine-induced immunity were assessed by ELISA with respect to Zika virus-specificity and flavivirus cross-reactivity. Functional analyses included virus neutralization and infection-enhancement. The contribution of IgM and cross-reactive antibodies to these properties was determined by depletion experiments. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Pre-existing flavivirus immunity had a strong influence on the antibody response in primary Zika virus infections, resulting in higher titers of broadly flavivirus cross-reactive antibodies and slightly lower levels of Zika virus-specific IgM. Antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of Zika virus was mediated by sub-neutralizing concentrations of specific IgG but not by cross-reactive antibodies. This effect was potently counteracted by the presence of neutralizing IgM. Broadly cross-reactive antibodies were able to both neutralize and enhance infection of dengue virus but not Zika virus, indicating a different exposure of conserved sequence elements in the two viruses. CONCLUSIONS:Our data point to an important role of flavivirus-specific IgM during the transient early stages of infection, by contributing substantially to neutralization and by counteracting ADE. In addition, our results highlight structural differences between strains of Zika and dengue viruses that are used for analyzing infection-enhancement by cross-reactive antibodies. These findings underscore the possible impact of specific antibody patterns on flavivirus disease and vaccination efficacy.
Project description:Infection caused by the four serotypes of dengue virus (DENV-1-4) is a leading cause of mosquito-borne disease. Clinically-severe dengue disease is more common when secondary dengue infection occurs following prior infection with a heterologous dengue serotype. Other flaviviruses such as yellow fever virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, and Zika virus, can also elicit antibodies which are cross-reactive to DENV. As candidate dengue vaccines become available in endemic settings and for individuals who have received other flavivirus vaccines, it is important to examine vaccine safety and immunogenicity in these flavivirus-experienced populations. We performed a randomized, controlled trial of the National Institutes of Health live attenuated tetravalent dengue vaccine candidate (TV003) in fifty-eight individuals with prior exposure to flavivirus infection or vaccine. As in prior studies of this vaccine in flavivirus-naive volunteers, flavivirus-experienced subjects received two doses of vaccine six months apart and were followed closely for clinical events, laboratory changes, viremia, and neutralizing antibody titers. TV003 was well tolerated with few adverse events other than rash, which was predominately mild. Following one dose, 87% of vaccinees had an antibody response to all four serotypes (tetravalent response), suggesting a robust immune response. In addition, 76% of vaccinees were viremic; mean peak titers ranged from 0.68–1.1 log10 PFU/mL and did not differ by serotype. The second dose of TV003 was not associated with viremia, rash, or a sustained boost in antibody titers indicating that a single dose of the vaccine is likely sufficient to prevent viral replication and thus protect against disease. In comparison to the viremia and neutralizing antibody response elicited by TV003 in flavivirus-naïve subjects from prior studies, we found that subjects who were flavivirus-exposed prior to vaccination exhibited slightly higher DENV-3 viremia, higher neutralizing antibody titers to DENV-2, -3, and -4, and a higher tetravalent response frequency after TV003 administration. In summary, we demonstrate that the NIH tetravalent dengue vaccine TV003 is well-tolerated in flavivirus-experienced individuals and elicits robust post-vaccination neutralizing antibody titers.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01506570.
Project description:Passive transfer of antibodies from COVID-19 convalescent patients is being used as an experimental treatment for eligible patients with SARS-CoV-2 infections. The United States Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) guidelines for convalescent plasma initially recommended target antibody titers of 160. We evaluated SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in sera from recovered COVID-19 patients using plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT) at moderate (PRNT50) and high (PRNT90) stringency thresholds. We found that neutralizing activity significantly increased with time post symptom onset (PSO), reaching a peak at 31-35 days PSO. At this point, the number of sera having neutralizing titers of at least 160 was ~93% (PRNT50) and ~54% (PRNT90). Sera with high SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels (>960 ELISA titers) showed maximal activity, but not all high titer sera contained neutralizing antibody at FDA recommended levels, particularly at high stringency. These results underscore the value of serum characterization for neutralization activity.