Use of random peptide reactivities to analyze host immune responses of African swine fever virus infection and immunization
African Swine Fever (ASF), endemic in many African countries, is now spreading to other continents. Though ASF is capable of incurring serious economic losses in affected countries, no vaccine exists to provide immunity to animals. Disease control relies largely on rapid diagnosis and the implementation of movement restrictions and strict eradication programs. Developing a scalable, accurate and low cost diagnostic for ASF will be of great help for the current situation. CIM's 10K random peptide microarray is a new high-throughput platform that allows systematic investigations of immune responses associated with disease and shows promise as a diagnostic tool. In this study, this new technology was applied to characterize the immune responses of ASF virus (ASFV) infections and immunizations. Six sets of sera from ASFV antigen immunized pigs, 6 sera from infected pigs and 20 sera samples from unexposed pigs were tested and analyzed statistically. Results show that both ASFV antigen immunized pigs and ASFV viral infected pigs can be distinguished from unexposed pigs. Since it appears that immune responses to other viral infections are also distinguishable on this platform, it holds the potential of being useful in developing a new ASF diagnostic. The ability of this platform to identify specific ASFV antibody epitopes was also explored. A subtle motif was found to be shared among a set of peptides displaying the highest reactivity for an antigen specific antibody. However, this motif does not seem to match with any antibody epitopes predicted by a linear antibody epitope prediction.