Potent neutralizing antibodies elicited by dengue vaccine in rhesus macaque target diverse epitopes

PLoS Pathog. 2019 Jun 6;15(6):e1007716. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007716. eCollection 2019 Jun.


There is still no safe and effective vaccine against dengue virus infection. Epidemics of dengue virus infection are increasingly a threat to human health around the world. Antibodies generated in response to dengue infection have been shown to impact disease development and effectiveness of dengue vaccine. In this study, we investigated monoclonal antibody responses to an experimental dengue vaccine in rhesus macaques. Variable regions of both heavy chain (VH) and light chain (VL) were cloned from single antibody-secreting B cells. A total of 780 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) composed of paired VH and VL were characterized. Results show that the vaccination induces mAbs with diverse germline sequences and a wide range of binding affinities. Six potent neutralizing mAbs were identified among 130 dengue envelope protein binders. Critical amino acids for each neutralizing antibody binding to the dengue envelope protein were identified by alanine scanning of mutant libraries. Diverse epitopes were identified, including epitopes on the lateral ridge of DIII, the I-III hinge, the bc loop adjacent to the fusion loop of DII, and the β-strands and loops of DI. Significantly, one of the neutralizing mAbs has a previously unknown epitope in DII at the interface of the envelope and membrane protein and is capable of neutralizing all four dengue serotypes. Taken together, the results of this study not only provide preclinical validation for the tested experimental vaccine, but also shed light on a potential application of the rhesus macaque model for better dengue vaccine evaluation and design of vaccines and immunization strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / genetics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing* / genetics
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing* / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral* / genetics
  • Antibodies, Viral* / immunology
  • Dengue Vaccines* / genetics
  • Dengue Vaccines* / immunology
  • Dengue Virus / immunology
  • Epitopes* / genetics
  • Epitopes* / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains* / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains* / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains* / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains* / immunology
  • Macaca mulatta


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Dengue Vaccines
  • Epitopes
  • Immunoglobulin Heavy Chains
  • Immunoglobulin Light Chains