Characterization of antibody responses to combinations of a dengue-2 DNA and dengue-2 recombinant subunit vaccine.

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  • 1 Virology Program, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910-7500, USA.

A dengue-2 (DEN-2) DNA vaccine coding for the premembrane and envelope (E) proteins and a recombinant fusion protein containing the B domain of the DEN-2 E protein fused to the maltose-binding protein (MBP) of Escherichia coli both elicited neutralizing antibody in mice. In order to achieve more rapid protective immunity as well as to increase the persistence of neutralizing antibody, we primed mice with the DNA vaccine (D), the recombinant MBP protein (R), or both (RD) given simultaneously, and then boosted twice with either the R (R/R/R or D/R/R) or D (D/D/D or R/D/D) constructs alone or the RD (RD/RD/RD) combination. All of the recombinant protein vaccines were given with alum as an adjuvant. The serum antibody response measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was highest in D/D/D mice and RD/RD/RD mice. The D/R/R mice showed an intermediate response, and the R/D/D and R/R/R showed the lowest response. The geometric mean (GM) 50% neutralizationtiter (50% plaque reduction neutralization, or PRNT50) was marginally higher for RD/RD/RD mice (891) at 9 months after priming than that for R/R/R mice (724). T he lowest GM PRNT50 titers were seen in the D/D/D mice (33) and R/D/D mice (40), and the D/R/R group had a slightly higher titer (156) than these 2 groups. The predominant antibody subclass for the D/D/D mice was immunoglobulin (Ig) G2a, similar to mice infected with live virus. The R/R/R mice showed an exclusive IgGI antibody response, and the RD/RD/RD response also was predominantly IgGI. The antibody subclass pattern of the R/D/D and D/R/R mice showed a more balanced distribution of both IgG1 and IgG2a. Investigating the neutralizing capacity of antibody subclasses suggested that both IgG1 and IgG2a could neutralize DEN-2 virus. Our observations indicate that the combination RD prime-boost regimen warrants further investigation as a vaccine strategy to prevent dengue infection.