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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 212-220

Assessment of NS1 protein as an early diagnostic marker for Kyasanur forest disease virus

ICMR–National Institute of Virology, Pune, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Devendra Mourya
ICMR–National Institute of Virology, Sus Road, Pashan, Pune–410 021, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.289392

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Background & objectives: Due to the emergence of Kyasanur forest disease (KFD) virus to new regions in India, there is an urgent need to develop an early diagnostic system, which is cost-effective and can be efficiently used with minimum paraphernalia. The non-structural-1 (NS1) protein is known to be an early diagnostic marker for flaviviruses. Furthermore, NS1 antigen capture ELISA kits developed using bacterially expressed dengue NS1 protein are commercially available. Methods: Based on the data available on dengue virus, West Nile virus and other flaviviruses, bacterially expressed Kyasanur forest disease virus (KFDV) NS1 protein and polyclonal serum raised against the NS1 protein in mice and rabbit were used to develop an antigen capture ELISA for early diagnosis of the virus. The feasibility of this ELISA was further tested using in silico predictions. Results: KFDV NS1 gene was cloned, expressed and confirmed by SDS-PAGE and western blotting. An antigen detection ELISA was standardized and sensitivity and specificity was tested with other flaviviruses. KFDV acute phase 43 samples were tested and only two were found to be positive for KFDV NS1 antigen. Superimposition of KFDV NS1 and TBEV NS1 revealed a root mean square distance (RMSD) of ~0.79 Å covering 1220 backbone atoms. This implies that the structures are very similar in terms of 3D fold. The identity of amino acid composition between these proteins was 73.4% and similarity was 92.9%, as revealed from the pairwise comparison. Interpretation & conclusion: The study points out that the half-life, expression and secretion levels of KFDV NS1 protein are not sufficient enough for its use as early diagnostic marker. The protein may have to be expressed in eukaryotic host to counter the lack of glycosylation in bacterial plasmid based expression of proteins. Hence, bacterially expressed KFDV NS1 protein may not be an ideal early diagnostic marker for the virus.

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