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J Virol Methods. 2001 Oct;98(1):1-8.

Serological diagnosis of equine influenza using the hemagglutinin protein produced in a baculovirus expression system.

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Epizootic Research Station, Equine Research Institute, The Japan Racing Association, 1400-4 Shiba, Kokubunji-chou, Shimotuga-gun, 329-0412, Tochigi, Japan.


The hemagglutinin (HA) protein of an equine influenza strain, A/equine/La Plata/1/93 (LP/93), was produced using a baculovirus expression system. Silkworm larvae inoculated with recombinant baculovirus expressed high quantities of the HA protein which was then purified to greater than 95% purity by fetuin-affinity chromatography. Purified HA protein was used subsequently in an ELISA for detection of antibodies in horse sera. Two hundred serum samples from vaccinated racehorses were reacted on ELISA plates coated with 40.0 ng/ml of purified HA protein. Subsequent optical density (OD) levels revealed titers which correlated highly with respective hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) antibody titers which ranged from <1:8 to 1:256 (correlation coefficient among them was 0.850). ELISA OD levels and HI titers increased at 5 and 7 days post-inoculation, respectively, in a horse inoculated intranasally with LP/93. Respective antibody levels were observed to change in an essentially parallel manner during a period of 1 month. Similarly, ELISA OD levels correlated with HI titers in horses during a period of 6 weeks following intramuscular inoculation with inactivated single-strain vaccines containing LP/93, A/equine/Kentucky/1/81 (H3N8) or A/equine/Rome/5/91 (H3N8). A similar pattern was also observed in eight horses throughout a 10-week period following inoculation with a commercially available inactivated trivalent vaccine containing A/equine/Newmarket/1/77(H7N7), A/equine/Kentucky/81 and LP/93. From these results, it is suggested that this ELISA system could be used for disease diagnosis and surveillance of HI antibody titers among vaccinated horses.

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