1887

Abstract

To date, all studies regarding hepatitis C virus (HCV) F protein have been based on expression of recombinant protein or monoclonal antibodies derived from genotype 1a or 1b sequences, but not from other genotypes. The objective of this study was to prepare a putative genotype 2 recombinant F protein and evaluate its reactivity in plasma from individuals with chronic HCV infection or who had recovered from infection. One genotype 2 strain was selected for F protein (F-2) and core expression in bacterial culture. An ELISA was developed and applied to samples from patients with chronic infection or recovered infection of various genotypes. The anti-F-2 response in 117 samples showed a significantly higher reactivity in chronic than in recovered HCV-infected blood donors (<0.001), but no difference was found among genotypes. However, the correlation between anti-F and anti-core was more significant in genotypes 1 and 2 than in genotype 3. Anti-F-2 titres were also significantly higher in chronic than in recovered individuals (<0.0001). Antibody titres to recombinant genotype 2 core protein or to genotype 1 multiple proteins used in commercial anti-HCV assays paralleled the anti-F-2 end-point antibody titre. This study thus demonstrated the antigenicity of genotype 2 HCV F protein, although the exact location of the natural frameshift position remains unknown. The difference in anti-F-2 response between chronic and recovered infection, the cross-reactivity irrespective of genotype and the correlation of antibody response with structural and non-structural antigens suggest that the immune response to F protein is an integral part of the natural HCV infection.

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2008-08-01
2019-10-19
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