Novel serological tools for detection of Thottapalayam virus, a Soricomorpha-borne hantavirus
We developed serological tools for the detection of hantavirus-specific antibodies and hantavirus antigens in shrews. The work was focussed to generate Thottapalayam virus (TPMV)-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and anti-shrew immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. The mAbs against TPMV nucleocapsid (N) protein were produced after immunization of BALB/c mice with recombinant TPMV N proteins expressed in Escherichia coli, baculovirus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae-mediated expression systems. In total, six TPMV N-protein-specific mAbs were generated that showed a characteristic fluorescent pattern in indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) using TPMV-infected Vero cells. Out of the six mAbs tested, five showed no cross-reaction to rodent-associated hantaviruses (Hantaan, Seoul, Puumala, Tula, Dobrava-Belgrade and Sin Nombre viruses) in IFA and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), although one mAb reacted to Sin Nombre virus in IFA. None of the mAbs cross-reacted with an amino-terminal segment of the shrew-borne Asama virus N protein. Anti-shrew-IgG sera were prepared after immunization of rabbits and BALB/c-mice with protein-G-purified shrew IgG. TPMV-N-protein-specific sera were raised by immunisation of Asian house shrews (Suncus murinus) with purified yeast-expressed TPMV N protein. Using these tools, an indirect ELISA was developed to detect TPMV-N-protein-specific antibodies in the sera of shrews. Using an established serological assay, high TPMV N protein specific antibody titres were measured in the sera of TPMV-N-protein-immunized and experimentally TPMV-infected shrews, whereas no cross-reactivity to other hantavirus N proteins was found. Therefore, the generated mAbs and the established ELISA system represent useful serological tools to detect TPMV, TPMV-related virus antigens or hantavirus-specific antibodies in hantavirus-infected shrews.
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