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Immunodominant "Asymptomatic" Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 Protein Antigens Identified by Probing Whole-ORFome Microarrays with Serum Antibodies from Seropositive Asymptomatic versus Symptomatic Individuals

  • Author(s): Dasgupta, Gargi
  • Chentoufi, Aziz A.
  • Kalantari, Mina
  • Falatoonzadeh, Payam
  • Chun, Sookhee
  • Lim, Chang Hyun
  • Felgner, Philip L.
  • Davies, D. Huw
  • BenMohamed, Lbachir
  • et al.
Abstract

Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 are medically significant pathogens. The development of an effective HSV vaccine remains a global public health priority. HSV-1 and HSV-2 immunodominant “asymptomatic” antigens (ID-A-Ags), which are strongly recognized by B and T cells from seropositive healthy asymptomatic individuals, may be critical to be included in an effective immunotherapeutic HSV vaccine. In contrast, immunodominant “symptomatic” antigens (ID-S-Ags) may exacerbate herpetic disease and therefore must be excluded from any HSV vaccine. In the present study, proteome microarrays of 88 HSV-1 and 84 HSV-2 open reading frames(ORFs) (ORFomes) were constructed and probed with sera from 32 HSV-1-, 6 HSV-2-, and 5 HSV-1/HSV-2-seropositive individuals and 47 seronegative healthy individuals (negative controls). The proteins detected in both HSV-1 and HSV-2 proteome microarrays were further classified according to their recognition by sera from HSV-seropositive clinically defined symptomatic (n = 10) and asymptomatic (n = 10) individuals. We found that (i) serum antibodies recognized an average of 6 ORFs per seropositive individual; (ii) the antibody responses to HSV antigens were diverse among HSV-1- and HSV-2-seropositive individuals; (iii) panels of 21 and 30 immunodominant antigens (ID-Ags) were identified from the HSV-1 and HSV-2 ORFomes, respectively, as being highly and frequently recognized by serum antibodies from seropositive individuals; and (iv) interestingly, four HSV-1 and HSV-2 cross-reactive asymptomatic ID-A-Ags, US4, US11, UL30, and UL42, were strongly and frequently recognized by sera from 10 of 10 asymptomatic patients but not by sera from 10 of 10 symptomatic patients (P < 0.001). In contrast, sera from symptomatic patients preferentially recognized the US10 ID-S-Ag (P < 0.001). We have identified previously unreported immunodominant HSV antigens, among which were 4 ID-A-Ags and 1 ID-S-Ag. These newly identified ID-A-Ags could lead to the development of an efficient “asymptomatic” vaccine against ocular, orofacial, and genital herpes.

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