nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV) was used as an expression vector for the nucleocapsid protein gene of Hantaan virus. Two different cDNA clones representing the small genome segment of Hantaan virus were inserted into the transfer vector pAcYM1, and recombinants were generated by replacement of a portion of the baculovirus polyhedrin gene with the foreign, Hantaan virus gene. Recombinants containing both the first and second ATG initiation codons of the Hantaan virus gene produced nucleocapsid protein, while those containing only the second codon did not. The expressed nucleocapsid protein was evaluated as a potential diagnostic antigen with a variety of hantavirus-immune sera. The high levels of expression obtained, specific serological reactivity with immune sera and the low level of biological containment required for production of this protein all suggest a significant advantage over authentic viral antigen for diagnosis of hantavirus infection.


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