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Virol J. 2012 Mar 27;9:75. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-75.

Immune response to a potyvirus with exposed amino groups available for chemical conjugation.

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  • 1Unidad de Biotecnología Médica y Farmacéutica, Centro de Investigación y Asistencia en Tecnología y Diseño del Estado de Jalisco, Normalistas 800, Colinas de la Normal, Guadalajara, Jalisco 44270, México.



The amino terminus of the tobacco etch virus (TEV) capsid protein is located on the external surface of infectious TEV particles, as proposed by previous studies and an in silico model. The epsilon amino groups on the exposed lysine residues are available for chemical conjugation to any given protein, and can thus act as antigen carriers. The availability of amino groups on the surfaces of TEV particles was determined and the immune response to TEV evaluated.


Using a biotin-tagged molecule that reacts specifically with amino groups, we found that the TEV capsid protein has amino groups on its surface available for coupling to other molecules via crosslinkers. Intraperitoneal TEV was administered to female BALB/c mice, and both their humoral and cellular responses measured. Different IgG isotypes, particularly IgG2a, directed against TEV were induced. In a cell proliferation assay, only spleen cells from vaccinated mice that were stimulated in vitro with TEV showed significant proliferation of CD3+/CD4+ and CD3+/CD8+ subpopulations and secreted significant amounts of interferon γ.


TEV has surface amino groups that are available for chemical coupling. TEV induces both humoral and cellular responses when administered alone intraperitoneally to mice. Therefore, TEV should be evaluated as a vaccine adjuvant when chemically coupled to antigens of choice.

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