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Characterization of the expression and immunogenicity of the ns4b protein of human coronavirus 229E



Characterization of the expression and immunogenicity of the ns4b protein of human coronavirus 229E



Canadian Journal of Microbiology 44(10): 1012-1017



Sequencing of complementary DNAs prepared from various coronaviruses has revealed open reading frames encoding putative proteins that are yet to be characterized and are so far only described as nonstructural (ns). As a first step in the elucidation of its function, we characterized the expression and immunogenicity of the ns4b gene product from strain 229E of human coronavirus (HCV-229E), a respiratory virus with a neurotropic potential. The gene was cloned and expressed in bacteria. A fusion protein of ns4b with maltose-binding protein was injected into rabbits to generate specific antibodies that were used to demonstrate the expression of ns4b in HCV-229E-infected cells using flow cytometry. Given a previously reported contiguous five amino acid shared region between ns4b and myelin basic protein, a purified recombinant histidine-tagged ns4b protein and (or) human myelin basic protein were injected into mice to evaluate whether myelin-viral protein cross-reactive antibody responses could be generated. Each immunogen induced specific but not cross-reactive antibodies. We conclude that ns4b is expressed in infected cells and is immunogenic, although this does not involve amino acids shared with a self protein, at least in the experimental conditions used.

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Accession: 068715992

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PMID: 9933919


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