We recently identified a novel virus, designated avian hepatitis E virus (avian HEV), from chickens with hepatitis-splenomegaly (HS) syndrome in the USA. We showed that avian HEV is genetically related to swine and human HEVs. Here we report the antigenic cross-reactivity of the putative open reading frame 2 (ORF2) capsid protein of avian HEV with those of swine and human HEVs and the Australian chicken big liver and spleen disease virus (BLSV). The region encoding the C-terminal 268 amino acid residues of avian HEV ORF2 was cloned into expression vector pRSET-C. The truncated ORF2 protein was expressed in E. coli as a fusion protein and purified by affinity chromatography. Western blot analysis revealed that the avian HEV ORF2 protein reacted with antisera against the Sar-55 strain of human HEV and with convalescent antisera against swine HEV and the US2 strain of human HEV, as well as with antiserum against BLSV. Convalescent sera from specific-pathogen-free chickens experimentally infected with avian HEV also reacted with the recombinant capsid proteins of swine HEV and Sar-55 human HEV. Antisera against the US2 human HEV also reacted with recombinant ORF2 proteins of both swine HEV and Sar-55 human HEV. The antigenic cross-reactivity of the avian HEV putative capsid protein with those of swine and human HEVs was further confirmed, for the most part, by ELISA assays. The data indicate that avian HEV shares certain antigenic epitopes in its putative capsid protein with swine and human HEVs, as well as with BLSV. The results have implications for HEV diagnosis and taxonomy.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of General Virology|
|State||Published - Sep 2002|
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