Research ArticleINFECTIOUS DISEASE

Zika virus activates de novo and cross-reactive memory B cell responses in dengue-experienced donors

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Science Immunology  18 Aug 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 14, eaan6809
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aan6809

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For zika virus, experience counts

For the immune system, practice makes perfect. Previous exposure to an infection elicits a stronger, faster memory response. But how does the immune system respond to a similar but not identical infection? Rogers et al. tracked the neutralizing antibody response to zika virus infection in individuals with and without previous exposure to the closely related dengue viruses. They found that zika virus infection primed the preexisting dengue virus response, but that this cross-reactive response was poorly neutralizing. In contrast, de novo zika virus responses were potently neutralizing. These data suggest that zika virus vaccines should target epitopes not present in dengue virus subtypes.