Publications & Reports

Persistent and transient antibody responses to hepatitis E virus detected by western immunoblot using open reading frame 2 and 3 and glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins.

Li F, Zhuang H, Kolivas S, Locarnini SA, Anderson DA
Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.


Recombinant proteins containing amino acid sequences from open reading frame (ORF) 2 and ORF3 of a Chinese strain of hepatitis E virus (HEV) were constructed as fusions with glutathione S-transferase (GST). Stable fusion proteins were separated by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the proteins were transferred to nitrocellulose membranes, and the immobilized proteins were probed with sera from hepatitis E patients from various regions or from rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) experimentally infected with the Chinese strain of HEV. Immunoglobulin G-class antibodies were detected with chemiluminescence and anti-human immunoglobulin G conjugated to horseradish peroxidase. Anti-ORF3 antibodies were detected in most patients and monkeys within 17 days of exposure, but this humoral response declined with time and was usually undetectable by approximately 100 days. Anti-ORF2.1 antibody was usually detected as early as anti-ORF3 but persisted in all animals and many patients, whereas reactivity to the larger GST-ORF2.2 fusion protein was more transient, even though all sequences present in GST-ORF2.1 are present in GST-ORF2.2. Rechallenge of these monkeys with HEV suggested that immunity to reinfection was incomplete, as levels of anti-ORF2.1 (but not anti-ORF2.2) were boosted after each rechallenge. The results demonstrate that the carboxy-terminal region of HEV ORF2 contains epitopes which are recognized by convalescent-phase antibody and are likely to be associated with limited immunity to infection, but these epitopes may be masked when larger portions of ORF2 are expressed as recombinant proteins.


  • Journal: Journal of Clinical Microbiology
  • Published: 01/09/1994
  • Volume: 32
  • Issue: 9
  • Pagination: 2060-2066


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