Identification of Antigenic Regions in the GB Hepatitis Viruses GBV-A, GBV-B, and GBV-C

Identification of Antigenic Regions in the GB Hepatitis Viruses GBV-A, GBV-B, and GBV-C

Identification of Antigenic Regions in the GB Hepatitis Viruses GBV-A, GBV-B, and GBV-C

Abstract

The genomes of two novel members of the Flaviviridae associated with GB agent hepatitis (GB viruses A and B) were cloned and sequenced recently. The genome of a third novel virus (GB virus C), related to but distinct from GB viruses A and B, has also been identified and characterized. Overlapping clones encompassing the large open reading frames of these three viruses have been expressed in E. coli as CTP:CMP-3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonate cytidylyltransferase (CKS) fusion proteins. Bacterial lysates were subjected to Western blot analyses using sera from GB agent-infected tamarins and human sera from various individuals with or “at risk” for non-A, non-B, non-C, non-D, non-E hepatitis. Antigenic regions were identified in the putative NS3, NS4, and NS5 proteins from all three viruses. An antigenic region was also identified in the putative core protein of GBvirus B. Many of the clones identified originally as encoding antigenic proteins were quite large. To map these regions more narrowly, smaller overlapping clones were generated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), expressed as recombinant CKS fusion proteins and tested by Western blot. Additionally, a lambda gt11 expression library was generated from infectious tamarin sera and immunoscreened. These studies have identified at least three epitopes in GB virus A, five epitopes in GB virus B and four epitopes in GB virus C.

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