Currently, there is no specific treatment or efficient vaccines against the Dengue virus (DENV). We designed and produced chimeric proteins composed by immunogenic epitopes from the four DENV serotypes to develop a tetravalent dengue vaccine. For this, South American DENV isolate amino acid sequences submitted to several in silico analysis and regions of the envelope and NS1 proteins that are highly homologous among the four DENV serotypes, non-conserved antigenic regions and the most antigenic epitopes found in the C, prM, E and NS1 DENV proteins were used to construct 11 chimeric peptides. Genes encoding the chimeric proteins were synthesized, and proteins were produced and further subjected to ELISA assays using sera from individuals infected with DENVs 1, 2, 3 or 4. One chimeric protein (EnvEpII) was selected to immunize BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice strains. The immunization with EnvEpII protein induced an increased number of T CD4+ and CD8+ cells, high production of IgG1 and IgG2 antibodies, and increased levels of IL-2 and IL-17 cytokines, in both mouse strains. Although further experiments are required, our results indicate that epitope selection by bioinformatic tools is efficient to create recombinant chimeric proteins that can be used as candidates for the development of vaccines against dengue.
PhD in Biochemistry and Immunology from the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Works as a Public Health Technologist at the Rene Rachou Research Institute, an unit of the Oswaldo Cruz Research Foundation (Fiocruz Minas) and Leader of the Research Group on Cellular and Molecular Immunology at Fiocruz. Has experience in the areas of Biochemistry and Immunology, with an emphasis on molecular biology. Currently works on projects involving basic and molecular virology, alternative strategies for vaccine development and diagnosis for arboviruses, dengue immunopathogenesis and nanotechnology applied to cancer and viruses of interest.