Investigation of Boosting of the Dengue B cell/Antibody Response in Nicaraguan Children

Maritza Cárdenas : Molecular and Cell Biology, Creative Writing minor

Mentor: Eva Harris, Public Health

Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne virus with four distinct serotypes. Primary infection by any of the four serotypes may result in dengue fever or, in severe cases, progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome. Recent studies have challenged dogma in the dengue field by finding that serotype-cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titers in serum of children in a cohort study in Nicaragua increased marginally in the time between primary and secondary DENV infection rather than decreasing over time, implying re-exposure to DENV. Maritza will use a novel method—the Quad-color Fluorospot—to investigate whether homotypic and heterotypic boosting observed previously in serum is also seen in memory B cells obtained from dengue cohort participants from Nicaragua. Her work will have important implications for both natural immunity and dengue vaccine efficacy over time.