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INDUCTION OF NEUTRALIZING ANTIBODIES SPECIFIC TO DENGUE VIRUS SEROTYPES 2 AND 4 BY A BIVALENT ANTIGEN COMPOSED OF LINKED ENVELOPE DOMAINS III OF THESE TWO SEROTYPES

SAIMA KHANAMInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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BEHZAD ETEMADInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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NAVIN KHANNAInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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SATHYAMANGALAM SWAMINATHANInternational Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever, a mosquito-borne viral disease, caused by four serotypes of dengue viruses. In this study, which has been prompted by the emergence of dengue virus envelope domain III as a promising sub-unit vaccine candidate, we have examined the possibility of developing a chimeric bivalent antigen with the potential to elicit neutralizing antibodies against two serotypes simultaneously. We created a chimeric dengue antigen by splicing envelope domain IIIs of serotypes 2 and 4. It was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to near homogeneity. This protein retains the antigenic identitities of both its precursors. It elicited antibodies that could efficiently block host cell binding of both serotypes 2 and 4 of dengue virus and neutralize their infectivity (neutralizing antibody titers approximately 1:40 and ~1:80 for dengue virus serotypes 2 and 4, respectively). This work could be a forerunner to the development of a single envelope domain III-based tetravalent antigen.

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