Viral immunology

Characterization of Rabbit Antibodies Against the Immunogenic JC Polyomavirus Peptide JCPyV_VP2_167-15mer.

PMID 26075335


JC Polyomavirus (JCPyV) is a widespread polyomavirus that usually resides latently in its host. As reactivation of the virus upon immune-modulating conditions holds serious risk, it is of importance to properly determine who is infected with this virus. Assessment of infection with JCPyV currently is based on the detection of antibodies against the major capsid protein VP1. However, specific antibodies against the peptide JCPyV_VP2_167-15mer have been shown to hold potential as a novel serological marker for infection with JCPyV. We have immunized rabbits with this peptide and the resulting hyperimmune serum was further characterized by detailed epitope mapping. The results demonstrated that the rabbit immune response is polyclonal in nature, recognizing two different epitopes in the 15-mer peptide. The strongest epitope consisted of L173PALTSQEI181, while a second moderate epitope consisted of D171DLPALT177. While some of the essential amino acid residues are the same as the ones for human plasma samples (P174, L176), some others are different. L173, T177, and I181 are essential for the rabbit hyperimmune serum, but not for human plasma samples, while E180 was essential for the human plasma samples and not for the rabbit hyperimmune serum. In conclusion, we generated polyclonal rabbit antibodies with strong reactivity against JCPyV_VP2_167-15mer recognizing at least two different epitopes in this peptide.