Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 6, pp 2689–2699 | Cite as

Identification of novel epitopes targeting non-structural protein 2 of PRRSV using monoclonal antibodies

  • Caihong Bi
  • Zengyu Shao
  • Jiangnan Li
  • Changjiang WengEmail author
Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is leading to huge losses in the swine industry worldwide. Its nonstructural protein 2 (Nsp2), with a cysteine protease domain (PL2), is crucial for virus replication and as a trigger to host innate immune regulation. In this study, three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to Nsp2, designated 4A12, 4G8, and 8H11, were generated. Subsequently, a sequence of recombinant peptides with partial overlap was utilized to determine the epitopes using these mAbs. We found three novel minimal linear Nsp2 B cell epitopes, 188ELSDDSNRPV197, 42HLKRYSPPAE51, and 54CGWHCISA61, which were identified by the antibodies 4A12, 4G8, and 8H11, respectively. Structure analysis indicates that 42HLKRYSPPAE51 and 188ELSDDSNRPV197 are located separately in hypervariable region 1 and hypervariable region 2 of Nsp2. Interestingly, 54CGWHCISA61 is located in the PL2 region, which is highly conserved in all arteriviruses, particularly at the expected conserved catalytic site at Cys54. Importantly, 54CGWHCISA61 is located in the inner region of the expected 3D structure of Nsp2, which reveals that the epitope is cryptic. These findings not only provide valuable insight for vaccine design and hold diagnostic potential for the identified epitopes, but also reveal a protective mechanism against variation under selective pressure in an important epitope.


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus Nonstructural protein 2 Monoclonal antibodies Cryptic epitope 


Funding information

This study was supported by National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFD0501600), the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Foundation (1610302017010 and Y2016JC23), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31640083 and 31872448), and the State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnological Foundation (SKLVBP2018002).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethics statement

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caihong Bi
    • 1
  • Zengyu Shao
    • 1
  • Jiangnan Li
    • 1
  • Changjiang Weng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Veterinary BiotechnologyHarbin Veterinary Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesHarbinChina

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