<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Differential diagnose of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection from other flavivirus especially West Nile virus (WNV) and Dengue virus (DV) infection was greatly hindered for the serological cross-reactive. Virus specific epitopes could benefit for developing JEV specific antibodies detection methods. To identify the JEV specific epitopes, we fully mapped and characterized the continuous B-cell epitope of the PrM/M protein of JEV.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>To map the epitopes on the PrM/M protein, we designed a set of 20 partially overlapping fragments spanning the whole PrM, fused them with GST, and expressed them in an expression vector. Linear epitope M14 (<sup>105</sup>VNKKEAWLDSTKATRY<sup>120</sup>) was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). By removing amino acid residues individually from the carboxy and amino terminal of peptide M14, we confirmed that the minimal unit of the linear epitope of PrM/M was M14-13 (<sup>108</sup>KEAWLDSTKAT<sup>118</sup>). This epitope was highly conserved across different JEV strains. Moreover, this epitope did not cross-react with WNV-positive and DENV-positive sera.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Epitope M14-13 was a JEV specific lineal B-cell epitpe. The results may provide a useful basis for the development of epitope-based virus specific diagnostic clinical techniques.</p
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