Prokaryotic expression, purification and immunogenicity in rabbits of the small antigen of hepatitis delta virus

Vera L. Tunitskaya, Olesja V. Eliseeva, Vladimir T. Valuev-Elliston, Daria A. Tyurina, Natalia F. Zakirova, Olga A. Khomich, Martins Kalis, Oleg E. Latyshev, Elizaveta S. Starodubova, Olga N. Ivanova, Sergey N. Kochetkov, Maria G. Isaguliants, Alexander V. Ivanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a viroid-like blood-borne human pathogen that accompanies hepatitis B virus infection in 5% patients. HDV has been studied for four decades; however, the knowledge on its life-cycle and pathogenesis is still sparse. The studies are hampered by the absence of the commercially-available HDV-specific antibodies. Here, we describe a set of reproducible methods for the expression in E. coli of His-tagged small antigen of HDV (S-HDAg), its purification, and production of polyclonal anti-S-HDAg antibodies in rabbits. S-HDAg was cloned into a commercial vector guiding expression of the recombinant proteins with the C-terminal His-tag. We optimized S-HDAg protein purification procedure circumventing a low affinity of the His-tagged S-HDAg to the Ni-nitrilotriacetyl agarose (Ni-NTA-agarose) resin. Optimization allowed us to obtain S-HDAg with >90% purity. S-HDAg was used to immunize Shinchilla grey rabbits which received 80 µg of S-HDAg in two subcutaneous primes in the complete, followed by four 40 µg boosts in incomplete Freunds adjuvant. Rabbits were bled two weeks post each boost. Antibody titers determined by indirect ELISA exceeded 107. Anti-S-HDAg antibodies detected the antigen on Western blots in the amounts of up-to 100 pg. They were also successfully used to characterize the expression of S-HDAg in the eukaryotic cells by immunofluorescent staining/confocal microscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1721
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Hepatitis delta virus
  • Prokaryotic expression
  • Protein purification
  • Rabbit immunization

Field of Science*

  • 2.4 Chemical engineering
  • 1.6 Biological sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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