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|B cell epitopes in fish nodavirus
|Costa, Janina Z.
|University of Stirling
|Three epitope-mapping procedures were used to identify B-cell epitopes on Betanodaviruses: neutralisation escape mutant sequence analysis, phage display, and pepscan. Betanodaviruses have emerged as major pathogens of marine fish. These viruses are the aetiological agents of a disease referred to as viral nervous necrosis (VNN), which affects many species of fish that are economically valuable to the aquaculture industry. The identification of betanodavirus B-cell epitopes will facilitate the rational development of vaccines to counter VNN. A panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) was produced using hybridoma methodology for use in each of the epitope mapping procedures. These antibodies were characterised in Western blotting, ELISA, and virus neutralisation tests. Rabbit polyclonal sera, and serum samples from nodavirus-infected fish were also used for pepscan analyses. Attempts to produce betanodavirus neutralisation escape mutants, using plaque assay or limiting dilution based methods, were not successful. Two phage libraries expressing random peptides of seven (Ph.D.7™) or twelve (Ph.D.12™) amino acids in length as fusions to the coat protein were used to identify the ligands recognised by MAbs directed against betanodavirus. Neither of these phage libraries yielded conclusive results. Phage clones containing tandem inserts were obtained after MAb selection from library Ph.D.7™. Extensive screening and nucleotide sequence analysis of MAb-selected clones from library Ph.D.12™) failed to yield a consensus sequence. Pepscan analyses were performed using the recently developed suspension array technology (SAT). This was used to map the recognition sites of MAbs and serum samples onto a panel of overlapping synthetic peptides (12mers) that mimicked the betanodavirus coat protein. The results of pepscan analyses required careful interpretation due to the binding of antibodies and serum samples to multiple peptides. However, three regions of the nodavirus coat protein were identified as containing B-cell epitopes: amino acids 1-50, 141-162, and 181-212. These results are discussed in relation to previous studies of immune responses to betanodaviruses, and to the future development of betanodavirus vaccines and diagnostic reagents.
|Thesis or Dissertation
|School of Natural Sciences
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