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Open AccessArticle

Immunogenicity in Rabbits of Virus-Like Particles from a Contemporary Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (GI.2/RHDV2/b) Isolated in The Netherlands

1
Innovation Team of Small Animal Infectious Disease, Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Shanghai 200241, China
2
Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University & Research, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
3
Dutch Wildlife Health Centre (DWHC), 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060553
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 8 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 June 2019 / Published: 14 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) type 2 (GI.2/RHDV2/b) is an emerging pathogen in wild rabbits and in domestic rabbits vaccinated against RHDV (GI.1). Here we report the genome sequence of a contemporary RHDV2 isolate from the Netherlands and investigate the immunogenicity of virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in insect cells. RHDV2 RNA was isolated from the liver of a naturally infected wild rabbit and the complete viral genome sequence was assembled from sequenced RT-PCR products. Phylogenetic analysis based on the VP60 capsid gene demonstrated that the RHDV2 NL2016 isolate clustered with other contemporary RHDV2 strains. The VP60 gene was cloned in a baculovirus expression vector to produce VLPs in Sf9 insect cells. Density-gradient purified RHDV2 VLPs were visualized by transmission electron microscopy as spherical particles of around 30 nm in diameter with a morphology resembling authentic RHDV. Immunization of rabbits with RHDV2 VLPs resulted in high production of serum antibodies against VP60, and the production of cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-4) was significantly elevated in the immunized rabbits compared to the control group. The results demonstrate that the recombinant RHDV2 VLPs are highly immunogenic and may find applications in serological detection assays and might be further developed as a vaccine candidate to protect domestic rabbits against RHDV2 infection. View Full-Text
Keywords: rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 (GI.2/RHDV2/b); Netherlands; VP60; baculovirus expression; virus-like particles; insect cells; immunogenicity rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2 (GI.2/RHDV2/b); Netherlands; VP60; baculovirus expression; virus-like particles; insect cells; immunogenicity
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Miao, Q.; Qi, R.; Veldkamp, L.; Ijzer, J.; Kik, M.L.; Zhu, J.; Tang, A.; Dong, D.; Shi, Y.; van Oers, M.M.; Liu, G.; Pijlman, G.P. Immunogenicity in Rabbits of Virus-Like Particles from a Contemporary Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (GI.2/RHDV2/b) Isolated in The Netherlands. Viruses 2019, 11, 553.

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