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ASFV epitope mapping by high density peptides microarrays.

Virus Research 2023 November 28
African swine fever (ASF) is an acute, highly contagious and deadly infectious disease. It is a threat to animal health with major potential economic and societal impact. Despite decades of ASF vaccine research, still some gaps in knowledge are hindering the development of a functional vaccine. Worth mentioning are gaps in understanding the mechanism of ASF infection and immunity, as well as the fact that - in case of this disease - virus proteins, so-called protective antigens, responsible for inducing protective immune responses in pigs are not identified yet. In this paper we elaborate on a methodology to identify protective antigens based on epitope mapping by microarray technology. High density peptide microarrays, combined with fluorescence scanning, have been used to analyse the interaction of peptide sequences of African swine fever virus (ASFV) proteins with antibodies present in inactivated serum from infected and healthy animals. The study evidenced ASFV proteins already under the radar for vaccine development, such as p54, and identified specific sequences in those proteins that may become the focus for future vaccine candidates. Such methodology is amenable to automation and high-throughput and may help developing better targeting for next generation vaccines.

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