Bovine rotavirus VP8*, N-terminal trypsin cleavage product of VP4, was produced in . To examine if this antigen could induce neutralizing antibody responses, different species of animals were immunized with the recombinant VP8* protein. The VP8* antigen was found to stimulate a neutralizing immune response in rabbits. When VP8*-immunized mice were exposed to bovine rotavirus strain C486, significantly higher antibody responses were observed than if they were only exposed to C486. To simulate a current vaccination protocol in the field with livestock, mice were exposed to live C486 virus first and then to VP8*. These mice had the elevated immune responses indicating that VP8* could boost immunity in primed mice. The immune response to VP8* was also tested in pregnant cows. The efficacy of VP8* in stimulating milk antibody was compared with a commercial inactivated vaccine. Differences in colostral antibody titres between VP8*-vaccinated and unvaccinated cows were statistically significant ( < 0.05) and equivalent to the commercial vaccine ( = 0.0569). The milk antibody titres on day 10 were comparable between VP8*- and commercial vaccine-vaccinated animals and were significantly higher ( < 0.05) than in unvaccinated controls. Furthermore, rabbit and bovine antibodies induced by VP8* were able to neutralize different P types of bovine rotaviruses to varying degrees, suggesting that serotype-specific and cross-reactive epitope(s) are present on the VP8* protein of rotavirus. Taken together, -expressed VP8* may be useful as a subunit vaccine candidate for bovine rotavirus.


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