alexa Nucleocapsid formation and or subsequent conformational change of rabies virus nucleoprotein (N) is a prerequisite step for acquiring the phosphatase-sensitive epitope of monoclonal antibody 5-2-26.


Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination

Author(s): Kawai A, Toriumi H, Tochikura TS, Takahashi T, Honda Y

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We investigated the antigenic maturation of rabies virus N protein, for which we used some conformational epitope-specific monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and an MAb (5-2-26) against a phosphorylation-dependent linear epitope. Infected cells were lysed with a deoxycholate-free lysis buffer and separated by ultracentrifugation into the soluble top and the nucleocapsid fractions. None of the study MAbs recognized N proteins in the top fraction, whereas nucleocapsid-associated N proteins were recognized by all of the MAbs. Immunoprecipitation with polyclonal anti-N antibodies coprecipitated the P proteins from the top fraction, indicating that soluble N proteins are mostly associated with the P protein. The N proteins dissociated from both the N-P complex and nucleocapsids were recognized by none of the study MAbs, whereas the MAb 5-2-6 recognized the SDS-denatured N proteins of the nucleocapsid but not of the top fraction. In addition, the phosphorylation-deficient mutant N proteins were shown to be similarly accumulated as the wild-type N proteins into the viral inclusion bodies, defined as the virus-specific structures composed of viral nucleocapsids, that are produced in the cytoplasm of the infected cells. Based on these results, we believe that newly synthesized N proteins are not immediately phosphorylated at serine-389 (a common phosphorylation site) but are first associated with the P protein. After being used for encapsidation of the viral RNA, the N proteins undergo conformational changes, whereby epitopes for the conformation-specific MAbs are formed and become phosphorylated at serine-389.

This article was published in Virology. and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination

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