Synthetic Peptides Containing Three Neutralizing Epitopes of Genotype 4 Swine Hepatitis E Virus ORF2 induced Protection against Swine HEV Infection in Rabbit
Genotype 4 hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic pathogen transmitted to humans through food and water. Previously, three genotype 4 swine HEV ORF2 peptides (407EPTV410, 410VKLYTS415, and 458PSRPF462) were identified as epitopes of virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies that partially blocked rabbit infection with swine HEV. Here, individual and tandem fused peptides were synthesized, conjugated to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), then evaluated for immunoprotection of rabbits against swine
... its against swine HEV infection. Forty New Zealand White rabbits were randomly assigned to eight groups; groups 1 thru 5 received three immunizations with EPTV-KLH, VKLYTS-KLH, PSRPF-KLH, EPTVKLYTS-KLH, or EPTVKLYTSPSRPF-KLH, respectively; group 6 received truncated swine HEV ORF2 protein (sp239), and group 7 received phosphate-buffered saline. After an intravenous swine HEV challenge, all group 7 rabbits exhibited viremia and fecal virus shedding by 2–4 weeks post challenge (wpc), seroconversion by 4–9 wpc, elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) at 2 wpc, and severe liver lymphocytic venous periphlebitis. Only 1–2 rabbits/group in groups 1–4 exhibited delayed viremia, fecal shedding, seroconversion, increased ALT levels, and slight liver lymphocytic venous periphlebitis; groups 5–6 showed no pathogenic effects. Collectively, these results demonstrate that immunization with a polypeptide containing three genotype 4 HEV ORF2 neutralizing epitopes completely protected rabbits against swine HEV infection.