In this work, we describe the selection and characterization of single-domain antibodies (sdAb) towards the E2/E3E2 envelope protein of the Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV). Our purpose was to identify novel recognition elements which could be used for the detection, diagnosis, and perhaps treatment of western equine encephalitis (WEE). To achieve this goal, we prepared an immune phage display library derived from the peripheral blood lymphocytes of a llama that had been immunized with an equine vaccine that includes killed WEEV (West Nile Innovator + VEWT). This library was panned against recombinant envelope (E2/E3E2) protein from WEEV, and seven representative sdAb from the five identified sequence families were characterized. The specificity, affinity, and melting point of each sdAb was determined, and their ability to detect the recombinant protein in a MagPlex sandwich immunoassay was confirmed. Thus, these new binders represent novel recognition elements for the E2/E3E2 proteins of WEEV that are available to the research community for further investigation into their applicability for use in the diagnosis or treatment of WEE.
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