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Yellow fever virus envelope protein expressed in insect cells is capable of syncytium formation in lepidopteran cells and could be used for immunodetection of YFV in human sera

Author(s): Barros Maria | Galasso Tatiane | Chaib Antônio | Degallier Nicolas | Nagata Tatsuya | Ribeiro Bergmann

Journal: Virology Journal
ISSN 1743-422X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 261;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Abstract Background Yellow fever is an haemorrhagic disease caused by a virus that belongs to the genus Flavivirus (Flaviviridae family) and is transmitted by mosquitoes. Among the viral proteins, the envelope protein (E) is the most studied one, due to its high antigenic potencial. Baculovirus are one of the most popular and efficient eukaryotic expression system. In this study a recombinant baculovirus (vSynYFE) containing the envelope gene (env) of the 17D vaccine strain of yellow fever virus was constructed and the recombinant protein antigenicity was tested. Results Insect cells infected with vSynYFE showed syncytium formation, which is a cytopathic effect characteristic of flavivirus infection and expressed a polypeptide of around 54 kDa, which corresponds to the expected size of the recombinant E protein. Furthermore, the recombinant E protein expression was also confirmed by fluorescence microscopy of vSynYFE-infected insect cells. Total vSynYFE-infected insect extracts used as antigens detected the presence of antibodies for yellow fever virus in human sera derived from yellow fever-infected patients in an immunoassay and did not cross react with sera from dengue virus-infected patients. Conclusions The E protein expressed by the recombinant baculovirus in insect cells is antigenically similar to the wild protein and it may be useful for different medical applications, from improved diagnosis of the disease to source of antigens for the development of a subunit vaccine.
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