Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays using virus-like particles containing mutations of conserved residues on envelope protein can distinguish three flavivirus infections
The recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) in flavivirus-endemic regions highlight the need for sensitive and specific serological tests. Previously we and others reported key fusion loop (FL) residues and/or BC loop (BCL) residues on dengue virus (DENV) envelope protein recognized by flavivirus cross-reactive human monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal sera. To improve ZIKV serodiagnosis, we employed wild type (WT) and FL or FL/BCL mutant virus-like particles (VLP) of ZIKV, DENV1 and West Nile
... NV1 and West Nile virus (WNV) in enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and tested convalescent-phase serum or plasma samples from reverse-transcription PCR-confirmed cases with different ZIKV, DENV and WNV infections. For IgG ELISA, ZIKV WT-VLP had a sensitivity of 100% and specificity of 52.9%, which was improved to 83.3% by FL/BCL mutant VLP and 92.2% by the ratio of relative optical density of mutant to WT VLP. Similarly, DENV1 and WNV WT-VLP had a sensitivity/specificity of 100%/70.0% and 100%/56.3%, respectively; the specificity was improved to 93.3% and 83.0% by FL mutant VLP. For IgM ELISA, ZIKV, DENV1 and WNV WT-VLP had a specificity of 96.4%, 92.3% and 91.4%, respectively, for primary infection; the specificity was improved to 93.7–99.3% by FL or FL/BCL mutant VLP. An algorithm based on a combination of mutant and WT-VLP IgG ELISA is proposed to discriminate primary ZIKV, DENV and WNV infections as well as secondary DENV and ZIKV infection with previous DENV infections; this could be a powerful tool to better understand the seroprevalence and pathogenesis of ZIKV in regions where multiple flaviviruses co-circulate.