The main objective of this research project was to determine if native and/or modified forms of Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) proteins present in the surface of the virion were able to induce a rapid and protective immune response against CSFV. To accomplish the proposed objective we took two approaches; 1) we assessed the capability each CSFV envelope proteins (E0, E1, and E2) for eliciting a protective immune response against the disease, and 2) we introduced modifications into CSFV envelope proteins to increase their capability of inducing an effective early protection against the virus.

All three proteins (E0, E1, and E2) were produced using a baculovirus/insect cell system to obtain high protein yields. Proteins were purified, tested for purity, combined with adjuvant (Sigma), and used to immunize 30-40 lbs pigs. Animals were inoculated via IM receiving boosters at 28, 42, and 56 days post primo inoculation. All pigs were challenged intra-nasally (IN) 1 week after the last boost. Using this immunization scheme only those animals that were immunized with E0 or E2 elicited high antibody titers and survived the challenge. E1 protein did not elicit a detectable antibody response nor did it elicit a protective immunity in pigs against CSFV. All animals succumbed to challenge.

To further understand the protective efficacy of E0 and E2 proteins we inoculated groups of 4 week-old swine with 1 or 2 doses of each protein. These animals were then exposed to CSFV IN at 21 days after single or last inoculation. All the animals survived the infection, suggesting that lesser doses are sufficient to induce protection. Similarly animals receiving three doses of the proteins and challenged 1 week after last inoculation were protected against CSFV, suggesting that strong response can be induced shortly after 3 inoculations of both proteins.
After the protective efficacy of wild-type E0 and E2 proteins was established, we introduced modifications to these proteins aimed to enhance the immune response against CSFV. E0 and E2 proteins were fused to flagellin; or to single chain anti-class II antibody sequences. Production and purification of modified proteins had to be adjusted from original procedures to obtain high yields of modified proteins. Proteins were then used to assess their capability to induce an antibody response in pigs. Unexpectedly, inoculation of these proteins into swine did not elicit a measurable antibody response suggesting that as formulated E0 and E2 will not induce an efficient immune response in pigs against CSFV. Work will continue to address this problem.

Contact Information:
Dr. Manuel V. Borca
Lead Scientist CSFV and ASFV
Plum Island Animal Disease Center
Greenport, NY 11944
Phone: 631 323 3135
E-mail: manuel.borca@ARS.USDA.GOV