Dengue viruses co-circulate as four serologically distinct viruses (DENV1-4) that commonly infect individuals sequentially. Current DENV candidate vaccines incorporate the entire virion envelope E protein (E) ectodomain thereby stimulating both DENV serotype-specific and cross-reactive antibodies. Because the latter may enhance naturally acquired infection, such vaccine formulations must be tetravalent. We evaluated the neutralizing and enhancing antibody response to E domain III (dIII) proteins, in which serotype-specific neutralizing determinants are concentrated. Mice immunized with insect cell-secreted recombinant DENV-dIII proteins individually, and in tetravalent combination, produced serotype-specific IgG1 neutralizing antibodies that nevertheless exhibited measurable DENV enhancing activity in FcγR-bearing cells. Vaccine strategies directed to DENV-dIII-targeted neutralizing antibody production remain attractive but will likely require further modifications to induce safe, protective immunity.
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