Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.104, No.14, 6223-6234, 2020
Fine mapping of linear B cell epitopes on capsid protein of porcine circovirus 3
Porcine circovirus type 3 (PCV3) is an emerging swine pathogen associated with acute porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS)-like clinical signs, reproductive failure, and multisystemic inflammation. Current evidence shows that PCV3 is spread worldwide, and its high incidence may pose a threat to the global pig industry. Capsid (Cap) protein is the sole structural protein which plays an important role in inducing protective immunity against PCV3 infection. In this study, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against Cap protein of PCV3 were produced by the hybridoma technique. Subsequently, 12 serial overlapping peptides (P1 to P12) spanning the entire region of Cap were synthesized to determine the B cell epitope regions using the mAbs. Results from dot-blot and peptide ELISA identified that P3, P9, and P10 were the major B cell antigenic regions. Fine mapping by shorter N- and C-terminal truncated peptides confirmed that the motifs (NKPWH61)-N-57, (KHSRYFT146)-K-140, and (161)QSLFFF(166) were linear B cell epitopes, which were highly conserved among different PCV3 strains. Interestingly, we found that the motif (KHSRYFT146)-K-140 was highly conserved in all reported types of PCVs (i.e., PCV1, PCV2, PCV3, and PCV4), except for the substitution (Y -> K -> R) of the first residue. This is the first research to identify B cell epitopes of PCV3 Cap, and these findings may lead to a better understanding of the antibody-antigen interaction and provide some guidance for PCV3 vaccine design. Key points center dot The recombinant Cap protein of PCV3 was expressed and purified in soluble form. center dot PCV3 Cap-specific mAbs prepared in this study had no cross-reactivity with PCV1/PCV2 Cap. center dot This is the first report of three conserved linear B cell epitopes on PCV3 Cap. center dot The minimal residues of the epitopes were 57-61 aa, 140-146 aa, and 161-166 aa.