1887

Abstract

Avian hepatitis E virus (avian HEV) was recently discovered in chickens from the USA that had hepatitis–splenomegaly (HS) syndrome. The complete genomic sequence of avian HEV shares about 50 % nucleotide sequence identity with those of human and swine HEVs. The open reading frame 2 (ORF2) protein of avian HEV has been shown to cross-react with human and swine HEV ORF2 proteins, but the B-cell epitopes in the avian HEV ORF2 protein have not been identified. Nine synthetic peptides from the predicted four antigenic domains of the avian HEV ORF2 protein were synthesized and corresponding rabbit anti-peptide antisera were generated. Using recombinant ORF2 proteins, convalescent pig and chicken antisera, peptides and anti-peptide rabbit sera, at least one epitope at the C terminus of domain II (possibly between aa 477–492) that is unique to avian HEV, one epitope in domain I (aa 389–410) that is common to avian, human and swine HEVs, and one or more epitopes in domain IV (aa 583–600) that are shared between avian and human HEVs were identified. Despite the sequence difference in ORF2 proteins between avian and mammalian HEVs and similar ORF2 sequence between human and swine HEV ORF2 proteins, rabbit antiserum against peptide 6 (aa 389–399) recognized only human HEV ORF2 protein, suggesting complexity of the ORF2 antigenicity. The identification of these B-cell epitopes in avian HEV ORF2 protein may be useful for vaccine design and may lead to future development of immunoassays for differential diagnosis of avian, swine and human HEV infections.

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2006-01-01
2019-11-14
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