Published online Oct 15, 2001. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v7.i5.642
Revised: July 6, 2001
Accepted: July 30, 2001
Published online: October 15, 2001
AIM: To study the epitope distribution of hepatitis G virus (HGV) and to seek for the potential recombinant antigens for the development of HGV diagnositic reagents.
METHODS: Fourteen clones encompassing HGV gene fragments from core to NS3 and NS5 were constructed using prokaryotic expression vector pRSE T and (or) pGEX, and expressed in E. coli. Western blotting and ELISA were used to detect the immunoreactivity of these recombinant proteins.
RESULTS: One clone with HGV fragment from core to E1 (G1), one from E2 (G31), three from NS3 (G6, G61, G7), one from NS5B (G821) and one chimeric fragment from NS3 and NS5B (G61-821) could be expressed well and showed obvious immunoreactivity by Western blotting. One clone with HGV framment from NS5B (G82) was also well expressed, but could not show immunoreactivity by Western blotting. No obvious expression was found in the other six clones. All the expressed recombinant proteins were in inclusion body form, except the protein G61 which could be expressed in soluble form. Further purified recombinant proteins G1, G31, G61, G821 and G61-821 were detected in indirected ELISA as coating antigen respectively. Only recombinant G1 could still show immunoreactivity, and the other four recombinant proteins failed to react to the HGV antibody positive sera. Western blotting results indicated that the immunoactivity of these four recombinant proteins were lost during purification.
CONCLUSION: Core to E1, E2, NS3 and NS5 fragment of HGV contain antigenic epitopes, which could be produced in prokaryotically expressed recombinant proteins. A high-yield recombinant protein (G1) located in HGV core to E1 could remain its epitope after purification, which showed the potential that G1 could be used as a coating antigen to develop an ELISA kit for HGV specific antibody diagnosis.