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18.11.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2018

Immunologic Research 1/2018

Screening HCV genotype-specific epitope peptides based on conserved sequence analysis and B cell epitope prediction in HCV E2 region

Immunologic Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Rui Hua, Xiaoyu Jiang, Lingxia Qi, Shanshan Guan, Ziyu Kuai, Yongbo Qiao, Yan Xu, Xin Gong, Yuhua Shi, Wei Kong, Junqi Niu, Hao Zhang, Yaming Shan


The high mutation rate of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome increases the genotype diversity and renders the detection of the virus more difficult. Therefore, prediction and assessment of highly conserved and strongly antigenic epitope polypeptide sequences have become a focus of current research. The E2 region is the target binding region of neutralizing antibodies. HCV genomics, especially the high mutation rate of E2 region sequence, makes its genotyping more and more diverse, and the detection of HCV and genotype is becoming more and more strict. In this study, four HCV B cell epitope polypeptides were constructed based on assessment of conserved sequences in the HCV E2 region and prediction of B cell epitopes, including sequences specific to genotype 1A (DC-13: 434-DTGWLAGLFYYHK-446), genotype 1B (HC-13: 434-HTGFLAALFYAKS-446), genotype 4D (NC-13: 434-NTGFLASLFYTHK-446), and a consensus sequence (FC-9: 447-FNSSGCPER-455). Epitope polypeptides combined with serum from 29 HCV-infected or 25 non-HCV-infected individuals were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and differences were analyzed by T/T’ test methods in SPSS v20.0 software. Binding levels of genotype 1A, 4D, and consensus epitope polypeptides with sera of HCV-infected patients were higher than those of non-infected individuals. Moreover, binding of genotype 1B epitope polypeptides with serum of HCV 1B-infected patients was higher than that of HCV 2A-infected patients. While the screening results of HCV genotype-specific epitope polypeptides were preliminary, these findings indicated that we successfully established an HCV and genotype serological ELISA detection method. Such an approach would facilitate the discovery of epitope polypeptides which may become new antigen candidates in peptide vaccine development for the prevention of HCV infection.

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