Immunogenicity of a Hepatitis C Virus Multiple-mimotope Proteinof Hypervariable Region
Abstract: A synthesized multiple-mimotope gene of Hepatitis C virus was cloned into a prokaryotic expression vector pGEX-4T-1 to generate a fusion protein GST-HCVME. The reactivity of the GST- HCVME with the sera of HCV patients was measured by Western-blot and ELISA. BALB/c mice were injected with GST-HCVME, and an ELISA approach was applied to determine the specific antibody titers in the mouse serum. The cross-reactivity of the antibodies was also checked with 2 synthesized HCV hyper-variable region 1 (HVR1) peptides. The results showed that the purified GST-HCVME fusion protein was able to react with 25 out of 35 HCV patients’ serum samples. The serum antibody response was effectively elicited in BALB/c mice injected with GST-HCVME. The highest titer of antibody against HCV (GST-HCVME) was about 1:104 at the eighth week after first immunization. Moreover, the collected mouse serum antibody had the ability to cross-react with the 2 synthesized HCV HVR1 peptides. These findings suggest that the multiple-mimotope protein of hepatitis C virus can efficiently induce HCV-specific immune responses in mice, and may be of potential use in the development of HCV vaccines.