Multiplex Serology for Sensitive and Specific Flavivirus IgG Detection: Addition of Envelope Protein Domain III to NS1 Increases Sensitivity for Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus IgG Detection

Viruses. 2024 Feb 13;16(2):286. doi: 10.3390/v16020286.


Tick-borne encephalitis is a vaccine-preventable disease of concern for public health in large parts of Europe, with EU notification rates increasing since 2018. It is caused by the orthoflavivirus tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and a diagnosis of infection is mainly based on serology due to its short viremic phase, often before symptom onset. The interpretation of TBEV serology is hampered by a history of orthoflavivirus vaccination and by previous infections with related orthoflaviviruses. Here, we sought to improve TBEV sero-diagnostics using an antigen combination of in-house expressed NS1 and EDIII in a multiplex, low-specimen-volume set-up for the detection of immune responses to TBEV and other clinically important orthoflaviviruses (i.e., West Nile virus, dengue virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, Usutu virus and Zika virus). We show that the combined use of NS1 and EDIII results in both a specific and sensitive test for the detection of TBEV IgG for patient diagnostics, vaccination responses and in seroprevalence studies. This novel approach potentially allows for a low volume-based, simultaneous analysis of IgG responses to a range of orthoflaviviruses with overlapping geographic circulations and clinical manifestations.

Keywords: EDIII; NS1; flavivirus; multiplex protein array; serology; tick-borne encephalitis.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Encephalitis Viruses, Tick-Borne*
  • Encephalitis, Tick-Borne*
  • Encephalitis, Viral*
  • Flavivirus Infections* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Protein Domains
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.