Cross-reactive antigenicity of nucleoproteins of lyssaviruses recognized by a monospecific antirabies virus nucleoprotein antiserum on paraffin sections of formalin-fixed tissues

Satoshi Inoue, Yuko Sato, Hideki Hasegawa, Akira Noguchi, Akio Yamada, Takeshi Kurata, Takuya Iwasaki
Pathology International 2003, 53 (8): 525-33
Diagnosis of rabies is routinely confirmed by detection of rabies virus antigens in acetone-fixed frozen brain tissues or imprint smears using an immunofluorescence method with commercial antirabies virus antibodies. Since recent molecular analyses disclosed wide heterogeneity in the genome sequences of rabies virus strains and related lyssaviruses, it is necessary to confirm the presence of common epitopes in these lyssaviruses. In this study we confirmed the presence of cross-reactive antigens of various lyssaviruses in paraffin sections of formalin-fixed tissue using a monospecific rabbit antiserum prepared by immunization with a recombinant nucleoprotein of rabies virus. By immunohistochemical application, the antigen was detected predominantly in the cytoplasm of neurons in the brains of mice infected with rabies virus, Duvenhage virus, Mokola virus and European bat lyssavirus-1, while no cross-reaction was observed in uninfected humans and animals including dogs, bats, and raccoons. In addition, we examined one autopsy case that was infected in a rabies-endemic nation and developed the clinical manifestation of rabies after returning to Japan in 1970, and found that the antigen was well preserved in paraffin sections of formalin-fixed tissues. Thus, this suggests that the lyssavirus-specific antigen is recognized by the monospecific antibody against rabies virus nucleoprotein, and that this cross-reactive antigen is detectable on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues by immunohistochemical analysis.

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