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Virology. 1987 Mar;157(1):172-9.

Isolation of a capsid protein of bluetongue virus that induces a protective immune response in sheep.


A method to purify the neutralization specific antigen of bluetongue virus P2 in large amounts has been developed. The purified protein is free from virus-specified or cellular contaminants and its immunological specificity has been preserved. The purification is based on the observation that protein P2 can be dissociated from the virion by treatment with monovalent or divalent salts. The salt concentration required to solubilize the outer capsid proteins is pH dependent and in general decreases with a decrease in pH. P2 purified by extraction from polyacrylamide gels does not induce immune-precipitating or neutralizing antibodies. The response against P5, on the other hand, is much less conformational dependent and P5 purified from gels readily induces P5-precipitating antibodies in rabbits. These antibodies do not neutralize the virus. Purified P2, immunoabsorbed with anticore serum to remove trace amounts of P7, was injected into sheep. An initial dose of 50 micrograms of P2 was sufficient to induce P2-precipitating antibodies as well as neutralizing and hemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies. These sheep were fully protected against challenge with a virulent strain of the same BTV serotype. Lower doses of P2 still provided a significant level of protection even though no neutralizing antibodies could be detected.

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