Indexed on: 17 Jan '12Published on: 17 Jan '12Published in: Virology
Flaviviruses, such as dengue virus (DENV) and West Nile virus (WNV), are among the most prevalent human disease-causing arboviruses world-wide. As they continue to expand their geographic range, multivalent flavivirus vaccines may become an important public health tool. Here we describe the immune kinetics of WNV DNA vaccination and the identification of a CD4 epitope that increases heterologous flavivirus vaccine immunogenicity. Lethal WNV challenge two days post-vaccination resulted in 90% protection with complete protection by four days, and was temporally associated with a rapid influx of activated CD4 T cells. CD4 T cells from WNV vaccinated mice could be stimulated from epitopic regions in the envelope protein transmembrane domain. Incorporation of this WNV epitope into DENV-2 DNA and virus-like particle vaccines significantly increased neutralizing antibody titers. Incorporating such potent epitopes into multivalent flavivirus vaccines could improve their immunogenicity and may help alleviate concerns of imbalanced immunity in multivalent vaccine approaches.