Bluetongue virus (BTV) causes bluetongue disease, a vector-borne disease of ruminants. The recent northerly spread of BTV serotype 8 in Europe resulted in outbreaks characterized by clinical signs in cattle, including unusual teratogenic effects. Vaccination has been shown to be crucial for controlling the spread of vector-borne diseases such as BTV. With the aim of developing a novel subunit vaccine targeting BTV-8 that allows differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals, five His-tagged recombinant proteins, VP2 and VP5 of BTV-8 and NS1, NS2, and NS3 of BTV-2, were expressed in baculovirus or Escherichia coli expression systems for further study. Optimized purification protocols were determined for VP2, NS1, NS2, and NS3, which remained stable for detection for at least 560 to 610 days of storage at +4 degrees C or -80 degrees C, and Western blotting using sera from vaccinated or experimentally infected cattle indicated that VP2 and NS2 were recognized by BTV-specific antibodies. To characterize murine immune responses to the four proteins, mice were subcutaneously immunized twice at a 4-week interval with one of three protein combinations plus immunostimulating complex ISCOM-Matrix adjuvant or with ISCOM-Matrix alone (n = 6 per group). Significantly higher serum IgG antibody titers specific for VP2 and NS2 were detected in immunized mice than were detected in controls. VP2, NS1, and NS2 but not NS3 induced specific lymphocyte proliferative responses upon restimulation of spleen cells from immunized mice. The data suggest that these recombinant purified proteins, VP2, NS1, and NS2, could be an important part of a novel vaccine design against BTV-8.
2014. Vol. 21, no 3, 443-452 p.