Articles | Volume 4, issue 1
Research article
17 Feb 2017
Research article |  | 17 Feb 2017

Detection systems for antibody responses against herpes B virus

Stefan Pöhlmann, Astrid Krüger, Wali Hafezi, Stefan Schneider, Jens Gruber, Michael Winkler, and Artur Kaul

Abstract. Herpes B virus (BV) infection is highly prevalent among adult Asian macaques and rarely causes severe disease in infected animals. In contrast, BV infection of humans can induce fatal encephalitis in the absence of treatment. Therefore, the development of diagnostic tests for specific and sensitive detection of antibodies against BV is an important task. The cross-reactivity of antibodies against BV with related simplex viruses of other primates may afford an opportunity to obtain sensitive detection systems without the need to work with the highly pathogenic BV. Moreover, it has been proposed that use of recombinant viral glycoproteins may allow for a detection of antibody responses against BV with high specificity. However, limited data are available for both approaches to BV diagnostic. Here, we report that simian agent 8 (SA8; infects African green monkeys)- and herpesvirus papio 2 (HVP-2; infects baboons)-infected cells allow for a more sensitive detection of antibody responses against BV in macaques than lysates of herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 (HSV-1/2; infect humans)-infected cells and a commercial HSV ELISA (Enzygnost® Anti-HSV/IgG). In addition, we show that sera from BV-infected macaques frequently contain antibodies against the recombinant BV glycoprotein gD (BV gD) that has been previously proposed as a diagnostic target for discriminating BV- and HSV-induced antibodies. However, we found that antibodies of some HSV-infected human patients also reacted with BV gD. In contrast, only sera of HSV-1- and HSV-2-infected humans, but not sera from BV-infected macaques, reacted with HSV-1/2 gG. Collectively, these results suggest that both SA8 and HVP-2 allow for sensitive and comparable detection of BV-directed antibody responses in macaques and that the combination of BV gD and HSV-1/2 gG needs to be complemented by a least one additional viral glycoprotein for reliable discrimination between antibody responses against BV and HSV-1/2 in humans.

Short summary
Transmission of macaque herpes B virus (BV) to humans can induce severe disease. Therefore, diagnostic tests for detecting BV infection are needed. Here, we show that antigens of BV-related non-human primate herpes viruses allow for the detection of antibodies elicited against BV with a higher sensitivity than antigens of human herpes simplex viruses (HSV). Moreover, we provide evidence that using recombinant viral glycoproteins may allow us to discriminate antibody responses against BV and HSV.