Antibody responses to Zika virus infections in environments of Flavivirus endemicity

Sarah L. Keasey, Christine L. Pugh, Stig M.R. Jensen, Jessica L. Smith, Robert D. Hontz, Anna P. Durbin, Dawn M. Dudley, David H. O'Connor, Robert G. Ulrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Zika virus (ZIKV) infections occur in areas where dengue virus (DENV), West Nile virus (WNV), yellow fever virus (YFV), and other viruses of the genus Flavivirus cocirculate. The envelope (E) proteins of these closely related flaviviruses induce specific long-term immunity, yet subsequent infections are associated with cross-reactive antibody responses that may enhance disease susceptibility and severity. To gain a better understanding of ZIKV infections against a background of similar viral diseases, we examined serological immune responses to ZIKV, WNV, DENV, and YFV infections of humans and nonhuman primates (NHPs). Using printed microarrays, we detected very specific antibody responses to primary infections with probes of recombinant E proteins from 15 species and lineages of flaviviruses pathogenic to humans, while high cross-reactivity between ZIKV and DENV was observed with 11 printed native viruses. Notably, antibodies from human primary ZIKV or secondary DENV infections that occurred in areas where flavivirus is endemic broadly recognized E proteins from many flaviviruses, especially DENV, indicating a strong influence of infection history on immune responses. A predictive algorithm was used to tentatively identify previous encounters with specific flaviviruses based on serum antibody interactions with the multispecies panel of E proteins. These results illustrate the potential impact of exposure to related viruses on the outcome of ZIKV infection and offer considerations for development of vaccines and diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0003617
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-reactivity
  • Flavivirus
  • Humoral immunity
  • Protein microarray
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)


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