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Rabbit and human hepatitis E virus strains belong to a single serotype

, : Rabbit and human hepatitis E virus strains belong to a single serotype. Virus Research 176(1-2): 101-106

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic pathogen and all four established genotypes of HEV belong to a single serotype. The recently identified rabbit HEV is antigenically and genetically related to human HEV. It is unclear whether rabbit HEV belongs to the same serotype as human HEV. The purpose of this study was to determine the serotypic relationship between rabbit and human HEVs. HEV ORF2 recombinant capsid protein p166 (amino acids 452-617) of four known HEV genotypes and rabbit HEV were used to induce immune serum, which were evaluated for their ability to neutralize human HEV genotype 1, 4, and rabbit HEV strains by an in vitro PCR-based HEV neutralization assay. Immune sera of five kinds of p166 proteins were all found to neutralize or cross-neutralize the three different HEV strains, suggesting a common neutralization epitope(s) existing between human and rabbit HEV. Rabbit models of a second-passage rabbit HEV strain, JS204-2, and a genotype 4 human HEV strain, NJ703, were established as evidenced by fecal virus shedding, viremia and anti-HEV IgG seroconversion. Six rabbits, recovered from JS204 infection, were challenged with NJ703, and another six recovered from NJ703 infection were challenged with JS204-2. After challenge, viremia was not detected, shorter fecal virus shedding durations and obvious early stage declines in anti-HEV IgG values were observed. The results from this study indicate that rabbit HEV belongs to the same serotype as human HEV.


PMID: 23742853

DOI: 10.1016/j.virusres.2013.05.013

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