Cloning Hepatitis B core-West Nile DIII DNA sequence into Gemini Viral Vector using Molecular Biology techniques.
Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) are self-assembling structures that lack the viral genetic material. Therefore they are safer and more immunogenic than other forms of vaccines. The Hepatitis B core (HBc) VLPs are a novel mechanism through which delivery of DNA-based human vaccines are plausible. Production of VLPs require recombinant, rapidly replicating, plant-based systems such as the geminiviral replicon system. This project entails the cloning process of HBc-DIII fusion protein, a VLP that should form Domain III of the Envelope protein on West Nile Virus, into deconstructed geminiviral vector. The cloning process includes the HBc-DIII fusion protein DNA isolation, restriction enzyme digestion with NcoI and SacI, PCR changing the NcoI site on the HBc-DIII insert to XbaI, sequencing, ligation into geminiviral vector and transformation into an agrobacterium strain. The major impediment to the cloning process was the presence of multiple bands instead of the expected two bands while doing restriction enzyme digests. The troubleshooting process enabled speculating that due to the excess of restriction enzymes in the digestion volume, some of the DNA was not digested completely. Hence, multiple bands were observed. However, sequencing analysis and further cloning process ensured the presence of HBc-DIII insert band (approximately 800bp) in the Gemini vector. Lastly, the construct HBc-DIII in Gemini vector was ensured to be in agrobacterium for further experiments such as agro-infiltration.