A Molecular Immunoproteomics Approach to Assess the Viral Antigenicity of Influenza

  • Kevin M. DownardEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2024)


New surveillance methods employing mass spectrometry (MS) have been developed to characterize the influenza virus and, by extension, other biopathogens at the molecular level. The structure and antigenicity of protein antigens on the surface of the viral capsid are screened in a single step employing the immunoproteomics MS-based approach. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) coupled to gel electrophoresis is used both to identify viral antigens and screen their antigenicity. Evidence that antigen-antibody complexes, and protein complexes more generally, can survive on conventional MALDI targets has allowed both the primary structure and antigenicity of viral strains to be rapidly screened and protein epitopes to be identified with molecular precision. The approach should aid in future screening of the virus and assist in the development of immunogenic peptide constructs as alternative treatments to vaccination over the whole inactivated virus. The assay adds to the repertoire of mass spectrometric approaches for examining antigen–antibody interactions, in particular, and protein complexes, in general, without the need to immobilize, tag, or recover either component.

Key words

Influenza Virus Surveillance Antigenicity Mass spectrometry Immunoproteomics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Infectious Disease Responses Laboratory, POWCS, MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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