The gene coding for the nonstructural glycoprotein of dengue-2 virus was cloned, sequenced, and expressed in Escherichia coli. There was about 70% conservation at the amino acid level with dengue serotypes 1 and 4 suggesting an important common function for this protein. Conserved hydrophobic domains were found both before the amino-terminus and at the carboxy-terminus, consistent with transmembrane roles. Evidence for at least partial translocation of NS-1 through the inner membrane of E. coli was found. Also conserved were two signals for N-linked glycosylation located near the middle of NS-1. Various regions of NS-1 were tested for antigenicity with mouse and rabbit polyclonal and mouse monoclonal antibodies. The mouse polyclonal antibodies, made against a crude dengue-infected mouse brain immunogen, reacted most strongly with N-terminal regions of NS-1, whereas, the rabbit antiserum, made against purified NS-1 protein, reacted strongest with C-terminal regions. These findings suggest that immunogen presentation or species differences could be important. Although most of the monoclonals appeared to be unreactive in Western blots with expressed NS-1 proteins, two appeared to react strongly; the region from amino acid (a.a.) 273 to a.a. 346 was required for antibody binding. This region, located adjacent to the two conserved C-terminal hydrophobic domains, is highly charged and contains 5 of the 10 conserved cysteine residues of NS-1.
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