1887

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a causative agent of hepatitis E. Recently, a novel hepatitis E-like virus was isolated from Norway rats in Germany. However, the antigenicity, pathogenicity and epidemiology of this virus are unclear because of the lack of a cell-culture system in which to grow it. In this study, an N-terminally truncated ORF2 protein was expressed in insect Tn5 cells using a recombinant baculovirus expression system and a large amount of 53 kDa protein was expressed and efficiently released into the supernatant. Electron microscopic analyses of the purified 53 kDa protein revealed that the protein self-assembled into two types of empty HEV-like particles (rat HEVLPs). The smaller rat HEVLPs were estimated to be 24 nm in diameter, which is similar to the size of genotype G1, G3 and G4 HEVLPs. The larger rat HEVLPs were estimated to measure 35 nm in diameter, which is similar to the size of native rat HEV particles. An ELISA to detect antibodies was established using rat HEVLPs as the antigens, which demonstrated that rat HEVLPs were cross-reactive with G1, G3 and G4 HEVs. Detection of IgG and IgM antibodies was performed by examination of 139 serum samples from wild rats trapped in Vietnam, and it was found that 20.9 % (29/139) and 3.6 % (5/139) of the samples were positive for IgG and IgM, respectively. In addition, rat HEV RNA was detected in one rat serum sample that was positive for IgM. These results indicated that rat HEV is widespread and is transmitted among wild rats.

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2011-12-01
2019-12-13
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