A novel panel of monoclonal antibodies against Schmallenberg virus nucleoprotein and glycoprotein Gc allows specific orthobunyavirus detection and reveals antigenic differences
A panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for the nucleocapsid (N) protein or the glycoprotein Gc of Schmallenberg virus (SBV), a novel member of the Simbu serogroup (genus Orthobunyavirus, family Bunyaviridae), was produced and used to analyze antigenic differences among members of this serogroup. Reactivity with various SBV-isolates and other Simbu serogroup viruses was assessed by an indirect immunofluorescence test and by immunoblotting. The Gc-specific mAbs detected different SBV isolates as well as two closely related members of the Simbu serogroup. In addition, one mAb showed a highly specific reactivity with the homologous SBV strain only. Based on their differing reactivity with different SBV-strains, these antibodies represent a valuable novel tool to rapidly determine the phenotype of new SBV isolates. In contrast, the N-specific mAbs showed a broad reactivity spectrum and detected not only all the tested SBV-isolates, but also several other viruses of the Simbu serogroup. One out of these mAbs even recognized all of the tested Simbu serogroup viruses in the indirect immunofluorescence assay. In order to further characterize the N-specific antibodies, PepScan analysis was performed and a specific epitope could be identified. In summary, the newly generated mAbs showed differing pan-Simbu virus-, pan-SBV- as well as SBV-isolate-specific reactivity patterns. Thus, they represent valuable tools for the development of novel antigen and antibody detection systems either specific for SBV or, in a broader approach, for the pan-Simbu serogroup diagnostics.