Article

Serological Studies Confirm the Novel Astrovirus HMOAstV-C as a Highly Prevalent Human Infectious Agent

Neurobiology and Pain Therapeutics Section, Laboratory of Sensory Biology, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 08/2011; 6(8):e22576. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022576
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Molecular identification of a microbe is the first step in determining its prevalence of infection and pathogenic potential. Detection of specific adaptive immune responses can provide insights into whether a microbe is a human infectious agent and its epidemiology. Here we characterized human anti-IgG antibody responses by luciferase immunoprecipitation systems (LIPS) against two protein fragments derived from the capsid protein of the novel HMOAstV-C astrovirus. While antibodies to the N-terminal fragment were not informative, the C-terminal capsid fragment of HMOAstV-C showed a high frequency of immunoreactivity with serum from healthy blood donors. In contrast, a similar C-terminal capsid fragment from the related HMOAstV-A astrovirus failed to show immunoreactivity. Detailed analysis of adult serum from the United Sates using a standardized threshold demonstrated HMOAstV-C seropositivity in approximately 65% of the samples. Evaluation of serum samples from different pediatric age groups revealed that the prevalence of antibodies in 6-12 month, 1-2 year, 2-5 year and 5-10 year olds was 20%, 23%, 32% and 36%, respectively, indicating rising seroprevalence with age. Additionally, 50% (11/22) of the 0-6 month old children showed anti-HMOAstV-C antibody responses, likely reflecting maternal antibodies. Together these results document human humoral responses to HMOAstV-C and validate LIPS as a facile and effective approach for identifying humoral responses to novel infectious agents.

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