Mapping of conserved and species-specific antibody epitopes on the Ebola virus nucleoprotein.

Author(s): Dr. Katendi Changula

Filoviruses (viruses in the genus Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus in the family Filoviridae) cause severe haemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. Rapid, highly sensitive, and reliable filovirus-specific assays are required for diagnostics and outbreak control. Characterisation of antigenic sites in viral proteins can aid in the development of viral antigen detection assays such immunochromatography-based rapid diagnosis. We generated a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to the nucleoprotein (NP) of Ebola virus belonging to the species Zaire ebolavirus. The mAbs were divided into seven groups based on the profiles of their specificity and cross-reactivity to other species in the Ebolavirus genus. Using synthetic peptides corresponding to the Ebola virus NP sequence, the mAb binding sites were mapped to seven antigenic regions in the C-terminal half of the NP, including two highly conserved regions among all five Ebolavirus species currently known. Furthermore, we successfully produced species-specific rabbit antisera to synthetic peptides predicted to represent unique filovirus B-cell epitopes. Our data provide useful information for the development of Ebola virus antigen detection assays.

 

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