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1.  The Human Immune Response to Dengue Virus Is Dominated by Highly Cross-Reactive Antibodies Endowed with Neutralizing and Enhancing Activity 
Cell host & microbe  2010;8(3):10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.007.
Antibodies protect against homologous Dengue virus (DENV) infection but can precipitate severe dengue by promoting heterotypic virus entry via Fcγ receptors (FcγR). We immortalized memory B cells from individuals after primary or secondary infection and analyzed anti-DENV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) thus generated. MAbs to envelope (E) protein domain III (DIII) were either serotype specific or cross-reactive and potently neutralized DENV infection. DI/DII- or viral membrane protein prM-reactive mAbs neutralized poorly and showed broad cross-reactivity with the four DENV serotypes. All mAbs enhanced infection at subneutralizing concentrations. Three mAbs targeting distinct epitopes on the four DENV serotypes and engineered to prevent FcγR binding did not enhance infection and neutralized DENV in vitro and in vivo as postexposure therapy in a mouse model of lethal DENV infection. Our findings reveal an unexpected degree of cross-reactivity in human antibodies against DENV and illustrate the potential for an antibody-based therapy to control severe dengue.
PMCID: PMC3884547  PMID: 20833378
2.  Genetic Variants of MICB and PLCE1 and Associations with Non-Severe Dengue 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59067.
A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified susceptibility loci for dengue shock syndrome (DSS) at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. The aim of this study was to define the extent to which MICB (rs3132468) and PLCE1 (rs3740360) were associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of pediatric and adult dengue.
3961 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases and 5968 controls were genotyped at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. Per-allele odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each patient cohort. Pooled analyses were performed for adults and paediatrics respectively using a fixed effects model.
Pooled analysis of the paediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between MICB rs3132468 and dengue cases without shock (OR  =  1.15; 95%CI: 1.07 – 1.24; P  =  0.0012). Similarly, pooled analysis of pediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between dengue cases without shock and PLCE1 rs3740360 (OR  =  0.92; 95%CI: 0.85 – 0.99; P  =  0.018). We also note significant association between both SNPs (OR  =  1.48; P  =  0.0075 for MICB rs3132468 and OR  =  0.75, P  =  0.041 for PLCE1 rs3740360) and dengue in infants.
This study confirms that the MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360 risk genotypes are not only associated with DSS, but are also associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of dengue, as well as with dengue in infants. These findings have implications for our understanding of dengue pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3594159  PMID: 23536857
3.  An Evaluation of Dried Blood Spots and Oral Swabs as Alternative Specimens for the Diagnosis of Dengue and Screening for Past Dengue Virus Exposure 
Non-invasive specimens for dengue diagnosis may be preferable where venous blood is difficult to collect and/or process, such as community-based or remote settings or when sampling from young children. We evaluated the performance of oral swabs and dried blood spots (DBS), compared with plasma, in diagnosing acute dengue and screening for past dengue virus (DENV) exposure. DENV-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) M, IgG, and NS1 antigen were detected both in oral swabs and DBS from acute patients. Oral swabs were less sensitive (IgM: 68.7%, IgG: 91.9%, NS1: 64.7%), but retained good specificity (100%, 92.3%, 95.8%, respectively) compared with plasma. DBS displayed high sensitivity (IgM: 100%, IgG: 96%, NS1: 100%) and specificity (IgM: 75%, IgG: 93%). DENV RNA was amplified from DBS (sensitivity 95.6%) but not from oral swabs. DENV-IgG (indicative of past flavivirus exposure) were detected with moderate sensitivity (61.1%) but poor specificity (50%) in oral swabs from healthy volunteers. Dried blood spots allow sensitive and specific diagnosis of acute dengue by serological, molecular, and antigen detection methods. Oral swabs may be an adequate alternative where blood cannot be collected.
PMCID: PMC3391044  PMID: 22764309
4.  Dengue in Vietnamese Infants—Results of Infection-Enhancement Assays Correlate with Age-Related Disease Epidemiology, and Cellular Immune Responses Correlate with Disease Severity 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(4):516-524.
The pathogenesis of severe dengue is not well understood. Maternally derived subneutralizing levels of dengue virus-reactive IgG are postulated to be a critical risk factor for severe dengue during infancy. In this study, we found that, in healthy Vietnamese infants, there was a strong temporal association between the Fc-dependent, dengue virus infection-enhancing activity of neat plasma and the age-related epidemiology of severe dengue. We then postulated that disease severity in infants with primary infections would be associated with a robust immune response, possibly as a consequence of higher viral burdens in vivo. Accordingly, in infants hospitalized with acute dengue, the activation phenotype of peripheral-blood NK cells and CD8+ and CD4+ T cells correlated with overall disease severity, but HLA-A*1101-restricted NS3133-142-specific CD8+ T cells were not measurable until early convalescence. Plasma levels of cytokines/chemokines were generally higher in infants with dengue shock syndrome. Collectively, these data support a model of dengue pathogenesis in infants whereby antibody-dependent enhancement of infection explains the age-related case epidemiology and could account for antigen-driven immune activation and its association with disease severity. These results also highlight potential risks in the use of live attenuated dengue vaccines in infants in countries where dengue is endemic.
PMCID: PMC2730540  PMID: 18598189
5.  Identification of Tuberculosis Susceptibility Genes with Human Macrophage Gene Expression Profiles 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(12):e1000229.
Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of >38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by >2- and >5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB.
Author Summary
Although TB is a leading cause of death worldwide, the vast majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic and contains the bacillus in a latent form. Among those with active disease, 80% have localized pulmonary disease and 20% have disseminated forms. TB meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of TB with 20–25% of sufferers dying, and of the survivors, many have disability. We currently do not understand the host factors that regulate this diverse spectrum of clinical outcomes. We hypothesized that variation in innate immune gene function is an important regulator of TB clinical outcomes. We measured the mRNA expression levels of >38,500 genes in macrophages taken from people with a history of latent, pulmonary, or meningeal TB and found genes with unique activation patterns among the clinical groups. Furthermore, we studied one of these genes further and found that CCL1 polymorphisms were associated with pulmonary TB (PTB) but not other types of TB disease. To our knowledge, this is the first study to combine mRNA expression studies with genetic studies to discover a novel gene that is associated with different clinical outcomes in TB. We speculate that this approach can be used to discover novel strategies for modulating immune function to prevent adverse outcomes in TB.
PMCID: PMC2585058  PMID: 19057661
6.  Increased frequencies of CD4+CD25high regulatory T cells in acute dengue infection 
Dengue virus infection is an increasingly important tropical disease, causing 100 million cases each year. Symptoms range from mild febrile illness to severe hemorrhagic fever. The pathogenesis is incompletely understood, but immunopathology is thought to play a part, with antibody-dependent enhancement and massive immune activation of T cells and monocytes/macrophages leading to a disproportionate production of proinflammatory cytokines. We sought to investigate whether a defective population of regulatory T cells (T reg cells) could be contributing to immunopathology in severe dengue disease.
CD4+CD25highFoxP3+ T reg cells of patients with acute dengue infection of different severities showed a conventional phenotype. Unexpectedly, their capacity to suppress T cell proliferation and to secrete interleukin-10 was not altered. Moreover, T reg cells suppressed the production of vasoactive cytokines after dengue-specific stimulation. Furthermore, T reg cell frequencies and also T reg cell/effector T cell ratios were increased in patients with acute infection. A strong indication that a relative rise of T reg cell/effector T cell ratios is beneficial for disease outcome comes from patients with mild disease in which this ratio is significantly increased (P < 0.0001) in contrast to severe cases (P = 0.2145). We conclude that although T reg cells expand and function normally in acute dengue infection, their relative frequencies are insufficient to control the immunopathology of severe disease.
PMCID: PMC2118571  PMID: 17452519

Results 1-6 (6)