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Open Access Technical advance

Evaluation of envelope domain III-based single chimeric tetravalent antigen and monovalent antigen mixtures for the detection of anti-dengue antibodies in human sera

Gaurav Batra, Satish K Nemani, Poornima Tyagi, Sathyamangalam Swaminathan and Navin Khanna*

Author Affiliations

Recombinant Gene Products Group, International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, New Delhi, India

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-64

Published: 15 March 2011



Flavivirus cross-reactive antibodies in human sera interfere with the definitive identification of dengue virus (DENV) infections especially in areas with multiple co-circulating flaviviruses. Use of DENV envelope domain-III (EDIII) can partially resolve the problem. This study has examined the effect of (i) incorporating the EDIIIs of four DENV serotypes into a single chimeric antigen, and (ii) immobilizing the antigen through specific interaction on the sensitivity and specificity of anti-DENV antibody detection.


A sera panel (n = 164) was assembled and characterized using commercial kits for infection by DENV and a host of other pathogens. Anti-DENV antibodies of both IgM and IgG classes in this panel were detected in indirect ELISAs using a mixture of monovalent EDIIIs, a chimeric EDIII-based tetravalent antigen, EDIII-T, and a biotinylated version of the latter as coating antigens. The sensitivity and specificity of these assays were compared to those obtained using the PanBio Dengue IgG/IgM ELISAs.


The performance of dengue IgG and IgM indirect ELISAs, using either a physical mixture of four EDIIIs or the single chimeric EDIII-T antigen, were comparable. Coating of a biotinylated version of the tetravalent antigen on streptavidin plates enhanced sensitivity without compromising specificity.


The incorporation of the EDIIIs of the four DENV serotypes into a single chimeric antigen did not adversely affect assay outcome in indirect ELISAs. Oriented, rather than random, immobilization of the tetravalent antigen enhanced sensitivity of detection of anti-DENV antibodies with retention of 100% specificity.