Diagnostic potential of a baculovirus-expressed nucleocapsid protein for hantaviruses
A non-infectious recombinant, baculovirus-expressed protein, analogous to the nucleocapsid of Hantaan (HTN) virus, and standard Vero E-6 cell culture-prepared HTN antigen, were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to detect IgG antibodies to various strains of hantaviruses. Rat and human sera previously found to have hantavirusspecific antibodies detectable by the plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT) were examined. Results obtained by the immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) test, ELISA, and PRNT were compared. Sera with IFA titers greater than 128 showed a high degree of correlation by both ELISA and PRNT. ELISA tests utilizing baculovirus-expressed protein were almost as sensitive as PRNT in detecting antibodies to HTN, Seoul, and Porogia viruses. The expressed nucleocapsid protein was found to be less sensitive in detecting antibody to Puumala virus, as has been observed with other HTN viral antigen-based tests. Our results suggest that the IgG ELISA with the baculovirus-expressed recombinant nucleocapsid protein is a useful alternative to the IFA for routine screening for antibodies to HTN virus. This test is sensitive, specific, easy to perform, rapid, and requires very small quantities of reagents. Furthermore, the recombinant antigen is non-infectious for humans and is, therefore, safe to prepare and use.
KeywordsNucleocapsid Protein Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome Recombinant Antigen Nephropathia Epidemica ELISA Titer
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