CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell immunity to Dengue - lessons for the study of Zika virus

Laura Rivino, Mei Qiu Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are rapidly emerging mosquito-borne flaviviruses that represent a public health concern. Understanding host protective immunity to these viruses is critical for the design of optimal vaccines. Over a decade of research has highlighted a significant contribution of the T-cell response to both protection and/or disease enhancement during DENV infection, the latter being mainly associated with sub-optimal cross-reactive T-cell responses during secondary infections. Phase IIb/III clinical trials of the first licensed tetravalent dengue vaccine highlight increased vaccine efficacy in dengue-immune as opposed to dengue-naive vaccinees, suggesting a possible immunoprotective role of pre-existing DENV-specific T cells that are boosted upon vaccination. No vaccine is available for ZIKV and little is known about the T-cell response to this virus. ZIKV and DENV are closely related viruses with a sequence identity ranging from 44% and 56% for the structural proteins capsid and envelope to 68% for the more conserved non-structural proteins NS3/NS5, which represent the main targets of the CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell response to DENV, respectively. In this review we discuss our current knowledge of T-cell immunity to DENV and what it can teach us for the study of ZIKV. The extent of T-cell cross-reactivity towards ZIKV of pre-existing DENV-specific memory T cells and its potential impact on protective immunity and/or immunopathology will also be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Culicidae
  • Dengue/immunology
  • Dengue Virus/immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Zika Virus/immunology
  • Zika Virus Infection/immunology


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