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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 263737, 8 pages
Research Article

The Use of Recombinant Pseudotype Virus-Like Particles Harbouring Inserted Target Antigen to Generate Antibodies against Cellular Marker p16INK4A

1Institute of Biotechnology, Vilnius University, Graiciuno 8, 02241 Vilnius, Lithuania
2Institute of Experimental Morphology, Pathology and Anthropology with Muzeum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. G. Bonchev Street, Building 25, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria

Received 29 October 2011; Accepted 20 November 2011

Academic Editor: Angelo A. Manfredi

Copyright © 2012 Rita Lasickienė et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Protein engineering provides an opportunity to generate new immunogens with desired features. Previously, we have demonstrated that hamster polyomavirus major capsid protein VP1-derived virus-like particles (VLPs) are highly immunogenic and can be employed for the insertion of foreign epitopes at certain surface-exposed positions. In the current study, we have designed pseudotype VLPs consisting of an intact VP1 protein and VP2 protein fused with the target antigen—cellular marker p16INK4A—at its N terminus. Both proteins coexpressed in yeast were self-assembled to pseudotype VLPs harbouring the inserted antigen on the surface. The pseudotype VLPs were used for generation of antibodies against p16INK4A that represents a potential biomarker for cells transformed by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV). The pseudotype VLPs induced in immunized mice a strong immune response against the target antigen. The antisera raised against pseudotype VLPs showed specific immunostaining of p16INK4A protein in malignant cervical tissue. Spleen cells of the immunized mice were used to generate monoclonal antibodies against p16INK4A protein. The specificity of antibodies was proven by the immunostaining of HPV-transformed cells. In conclusion, the current study demonstrates the potential of pseudotype VLPs with inserted target antigen as a new type of immunogens to generate antibodies of high diagnostic value.