IN VITRO NEUTRALIZATION OF HCV BY GOAT ANTIBODIES AGAINST PEPTIDES ENCOMPASSING REGIONS DOWNSTREAM OF HVR-1 OF E2 GLYCOPROTEIN
This study aims at testing several in vitro systems with various viral sources and cell lines for propagation of HCV to evaluate goat antibodies raised against three E2 epitopes in viral neutralization experiments. Four human cell lines (Huh-7, Huh-7.5, HepG2 and CaCo2) were tested using two different HCV viral sources; Genotype 4 infected sera and J6/JFH HCV cc particles. Neutralization capacity of goat Abs against conserved E2 epitopes; p412 (a.a 412-419), p517 (a.a 517-531) and p430 (a.a 430-447) were examined in the above mentioned in vitro systems. Although infection with patients sera seems to mimic the in vitro situation, it has limited replication rates as compared with HCV cc particularly in Huh7.5 cells. Non-HCV adapted Huh-7 cells were also found susceptible for transfection with J6/JFH virus but at much slower kinetics. The results of the neutralization assay showed that anti p412 and anti p 517 were highly neutralizing to HCVcc. Our data demonstrate that antibodies directed against the viral surface glycoprotein E2 reduced the infectivity of the J6/JFH virus and are promising agents for immunotherapy and HCV vaccine development.