Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pathogens and Immunity






Background: The outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in Brazil has raised concerns that infection during pregnancy could cause microcephaly and other severe neurodevelopmental malformations in the fetus. The mechanisms by which ZIKV causes fetal abnormalities are largely unknown. The importance of pre-infection with dengue virus (DENV), or other flaviviruses endemic to Brazil, remains to be investigated. It has been reported that antibodies directed against DENV can increase ZIKV infectivity by antibody dependent enhancement (ADE), suggesting that a history of prior DENV infection might worsen the outcome of ZIKV infection.

Methods: We used bioinformatics tools to design 18 peptides from the ZIKV envelope containing predicted HLA-I T-cell epitopes and investigated T-cell cross-reactivity between ZIKV-infected individuals and DENV-vaccinated subjects by IFNg ELISPOT.

Results: Three peptides induced IFNg production in both ZIKV-infected subjects and in DENV-vaccinated individuals. Flow cytometry indicated that 1 ZIKV peptide induced a CD4+ T-cell response in DENV-vaccinated subjects.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that vaccination against DENV induced a T-cell response against ZIKV and identified one such CD4+ T-cell epitope. The ZIKV-reactive CD4+ T cells induced by DENV vaccination and identified in this study could contribute to the appearance of cross-reactive antibodies mediating ADE.


Reproduced with permission of Case Western Reserve University. Pathogens and Immunity

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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