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Open Access Research

Characterization of C-strain “Riems” TAV-epitope escape variants obtained through selective antibody pressure in cell culture

Immanuel Leifer14, Sandra Blome1, Ulrike Blohm2, Patricia König1, Heike Küster3, Bodo Lange3 and Martin Beer1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Diagnostic Virology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany

2 Institute of Immunology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Südufer 10, 17493, Greifswald- Insel Riems, Germany

3 Riemser Arzneimittel AG, An der Wiek 7, 17493, Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany

4 Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis (IVI), Sensemattstrasse 293, 3147, Mittelhaeusern, Switzerland

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Veterinary Research 2012, 43:33  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-33

Published: 20 April 2012

Abstract

Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) C-strain “Riems” escape variants generated under selective antibody pressure with monoclonal antibodies and a peptide-specific antiserum in cell culture were investigated. Candidates with up to three amino acid exchanges in the immunodominant and highly conserved linear TAV-epitope of the E2-glycoprotein, and additional mutations in the envelope proteins ERNS and E1, were characterized both in vitro and in vivo.

It was further demonstrated, that intramuscular immunization of weaner pigs with variants selected after a series of passages elicited full protection against lethal CSFV challenge infection. These novel CSFV C-strain variants with exchanges in the TAV-epitope present potential marker vaccine candidates. The DIVA (differentiating infected from vaccinated animals) principle was tested for those variants using commercially available E2 antibody detection ELISA. Moreover, direct virus differentiation is possible using a real-time RT-PCR system specific for the new C-strain virus escape variants or using differential immunofluorescence staining.