Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause worldwide of chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, and the development of an effective vaccine represents a high priority goal. The hyper variable region 1 (HVR1) of the second envelope protein (E2) of HCV contains a principal neutralizing determinant, but it is highly variable among different isolates and it is involved in the escape from host immune response. To be effective, a vaccine should elicit a cross-reacting humoral response against the majority of viral variants. We show that it is possible to achieve a broadly cross-reactive immune response in rabbits by immunization with mimotopes of the HVR1, selected from a specialized phage library using HCV patients' sera. Some of the cross-reacting anti-mimotope antibodies elicited in rabbits, recognize discontinuous epitopes in a manner similar to those induced by the virus in infected patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology