Two types of porcine circovirus (PCV) have been isolated and are referred to as PCV1 and PCV2. PCV1 represents an apathogenic virus, whereas PCV2 is associated with post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome. The two PCVs are related, since they display about 70% identity based on nucleotide sequences. In order to discriminate between common and type-specific antigens, an immunocytological approach was used following transfections with cloned circovirus DNAs, as well as recombinant proteins expressed by either baculovirus or plasmid vectors. The ORF1-encoded proteins in the two viruses were shown to be antigenically related, whereas the ORF2 proteins were recognized differentially by polyclonal anti-PCV2 antibodies. Furthermore, PEPSCAN analysis performed on overlapping fragments of the genes encoding part of ORF1 and the entire ORF2 and ORF3 led to the identification of five dominant immunoreactive areas, one located on ORF1 and four on ORF2. However, only some ORF2 peptides proved to be immunorelevant epitopes for virus type discrimination. The potential use of ORF2-derived antigens as diagnostic tools is demonstrated.


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