Dengue viruses cluster antigenically but not as discrete serotypes.
Katzelnick LC., Fonville JM., Gromowski GD., Bustos Arriaga J., Green A., James SL., Lau L., Montoya M., Wang C., VanBlargan LA., Russell CA., Thu HM., Pierson TC., Buchy P., Aaskov JG., Muñoz-Jordán JL., Vasilakis N., Gibbons RV., Tesh RB., Osterhaus ADME., Fouchier RAM., Durbin A., Simmons CP., Holmes EC., Harris E., Whitehead SS., Smith DJ.
The four genetically divergent dengue virus (DENV) types are traditionally classified as serotypes. Antigenic and genetic differences among the DENV types influence disease outcome, vaccine-induced protection, epidemic magnitude, and viral evolution. We characterized antigenic diversity in the DENV types by antigenic maps constructed from neutralizing antibody titers obtained from African green monkeys and after human vaccination and natural infections. Genetically, geographically, and temporally, diverse DENV isolates clustered loosely by type, but we found that many are as similar antigenically to a virus of a different type as to some viruses of the same type. Primary infection antisera did not neutralize all viruses of the same DENV type any better than other types did up to 2 years after infection and did not show improved neutralization to homologous type isolates. That the canonical DENV types are not antigenically homogeneous has implications for vaccination and research on the dynamics of immunity, disease, and the evolution of DENV.