Identification of canine helper T-cell epitopes from the fusion protein of canine distemper virus

Authors

  • Souravi Ghosh,

    1. *Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia and, †Animal Health, CSL Limited, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • John Walker,

    1. *Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia and, †Animal Health, CSL Limited, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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  • David C. Jackson

    1. *Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia and, †Animal Health, CSL Limited, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
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David C. Jackson, Cooperative Research Center for Vaccine Technology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052, Victoria, Australia. E-mail: d.jackson@microbiology.unimelb.edu.au

Summary

The fusion protein of canine distemper virus (CDV-F), a 662 amino-acid envelope protein, was used as the target molecule for identification of canine T helper (Th) epitopes. A library of 94 peptides, each 17 residues in length overlapping by 10 residues and covering the entire sequence of CDV-F, was screened using a lymphocyte proliferation assay with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from dogs inoculated with canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccine. Initially we observed low and inconsistent proliferation of PBMC in response to these peptides, even when using cells obtained from dogs that had received multiple doses of CDV. Subsequently, the use of expanded cell populations derived by in vitro stimulation of canine PBMC with pools of peptides allowed the identification of a number of putative canine Th-epitopes within the protein sequence of CDV-F. There were two major clusters of Th-epitopes identified close to the cleavage site of the F0 fusion protein, while some others were scattered in both the F1 and F2 fragments of the protein. Some of these peptides, in particular peptide 35 (p35), were stimulatory in dogs of different breeds and ages. The identification of such promiscuous canine Th-epitopes encouraged us to assemble p35 in tandem with luteinising hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) a 10 amino-acid residue synthetic peptide representing a B-cell epitope which alone induces no antibody in dogs. The totally synthetic immunogen was able to induce the production of very high titres of antibodies against LHRH in all dogs tested. These results indicate that p35 could be an ideal candidate for use as a Th-epitope for use in outbred dogs.

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