The haemagglutinin—esterase gene (HE) of bovine coronavirus (BCV) encodes a major viral membrane glycoprotein that elicits BCV-neutralizing antibodies. The BCV HE gene was cloned into a human adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) transfer vector in place of early transcription region 3, and a helper-independent recombinant virus was constructed by rescue of the transcription unit by homologous recombination between the vector and Ad5 genomic DNA. The BCV HE polypeptide expressed by this recombinant Ad was characterized and . A 65K polypeptide was identified using an anti-BCV antibody in both human (293) and bovine (MDBK) cells infected with the recombinant Ad. In the absence of a reducing agent, migration of the 65K polypeptide was shifted to 130K, indicating that the recombinant HE polypeptide existed in a dimeric form. The HE polypeptide was glycosylated, as demonstrated by labelling with [H]glucosamine, and was immunoreactive with three distinct groups of conformation-specific anti-HE monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Cells infected with recombinant Ad expressing BCV HE exhibited both haemadsorption activity and acetylesterase activity. In addition, the anti-HE group A MAbs HC10-5 and KD9-40 inhibited both the haemadsorption activity and esterase activity of the recombinant HE polypeptide, suggesting that the antigenic domain responsible for BCV neutralization may overlap (or is closely associated with) the domain(s) responsible for haemagglutination and/or acetylesterase activities. When mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with live recombinant Ad, a significant level of BCV-neutralizing HE-specific antibody was induced. These results indicate that the recombinant Ad replicates and directs the synthesis of the BCV HE polypeptide .


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