1887

Abstract

Goats infected with caprine arthritis–encephalitis virus (CAEV) develop high titres of antibodies to Env. Not only is no consistent neutralizing response found but anti-Env antibodies have even been associated with disease in infected goats. To identify the continuous antigenic determinants involved in this atypical anti-Env response, we mapped CAEV-CO Env by screening an epitope expression library with infected goat sera. In addition to the four previously described epitopes, seven novel antigenic sites were identified, of which five were located on the surface (SU) and two in the transmembrane (TM) subunits of Env. The SU antibody-binding domains located in the variable regions of the C-terminal part of the molecule (SU3 to SU5) showed the strongest reactivity and induced a rapid seroconversion in six experimentally infected goats. However, the response to these immunodominant epitopes did not appear to be associated with any neutralizing activity. The pattern of serum reactivity of naturally infected goats with these epitopes was restricted, suggesting a type-specific reaction. Interestingly, the reactivity of peptides representing SU5 sequences derived from CAEV field isolates varied with the geographical and/or breeding origin of the animals. This suggests that peptides corresponding to the immunodominant SU epitopes may well be useful in the serotyping of CAEV isolates. Furthermore, the identification of the CAEV Env epitopes will permit us to functionally dissect the antibody response and to address the role of anti-Env antibodies either in the protection from or in the pathogenesis of CAEV infection.

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2000-12-01
2020-01-17
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