Ten murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against a synthetic peptide corresponding to the well-conserved, C-terminal 24-amino acid portion of ORF3 protein of hepatitis E virus (HEV) were produced and characterized. Immunofluorescent assays using the anti-ORF3 MAbs revealed accumulation of ORF3 protein in the cytoplasm of PLC/PRF/5 cells transfected with ORF3-expressing plasmid or inoculated with cell-culture-generated HEV. The anti-ORF3 MAbs could capture HEV particles in culture medium and serum at variable efficiency of up to 61 and 49%, respectively, but not those in feces. By sandwiching between immobilized and enzyme-labeled anti-ORF3 MAbs in ELISA, ORF3 antigen was detected in the culture media with an HEV RNA titer of >10 6 copies/ml and increased in parallel with the increase in HEV load. HEV progenies in the culture supernatant, with ORF3 protein on the surface, banded at a low buoyant density of 1.15 g/cm 3 in sucrose. A representative anti-ORF3 MAb (TA0536) could partially neutralize the infection of cell-culture-generated HEV in a cell culture system. These results indicate that ORF3 protein, at least its C-terminal portion, is present on the surface of HEV virions released from infected cells and support a previously proposed assumption that ORF3 protein is associated with virus release from infected cells.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2008
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