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Food Environ Virol. 2015 Sep;7(3):249-60. doi: 10.1007/s12560-015-9198-0. Epub 2015 May 23.

Zeta Potential and Aggregation of Virus-Like Particle of Human Norovirus and Feline Calicivirus Under Different Physicochemical Conditions.

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Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, Universite Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada.


Although the spread of human norovirus reportedly depends on its ability to bind to food materials, the mechanism of the phenomenon remains unknown. Since protein size and electrical charge are reportedly important parameters in their adsorption, the current work is focused on determining human noroviruses isoelectric point (IEP), electrical charge and aggregate size at different pH, ionic strength (IS), and temperature. Using the baculovirus expression vector system, we produced and purified virus-like particles (VLPs) of GI.1 and GII.4 noroviruses and feline calicivirus, determined their IEP, and examined their size and electrical charge using a Zetasizer Nano ZS apparatus. Shape and size were also visualized using transmission electron microscopy. IEPs were found close to pH 4. Net charge increased as the pH deviated from the IEP. VLPs were negatively charged at all IS tested and showed a gradual decrease in charge with increasing IS. At low temperature, VLPs were 20-45 nm in diameter at pH far from their IEP and under almost all IS conditions, while aggregates appeared at or near the IEP. At increased temperatures, aggregates appeared at or near the IEP and at high IS. Aggregation at the IEP was also confirmed by microscopy. This suggests that electrostatic interactions would be the predominant factor in VLPs adhesion at pH far from 4 and at low ionic strength. In contrast, non-electrostatic interactions would prevail at around pH 4 and would be reinforced by aggregates, since size generally favors multiple bonding with sorbents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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