A simple method to test the ability of individual viral proteins to induce immune responses

J Virol Methods. 1994 Apr;47(1-2):103-16. doi: 10.1016/0166-0934(94)90070-1.


Immune responses to a mouse fibroblast line, transfected with a plasmid that causes expression of the rabies virus glycoprotein under the control of a simian virus 40 early promoter, were studied. Transfected cells were shown to be recognized in vitro by a panel of monoclonal antibodies directed to conformational epitopes of the different antigenic sites of the glycoprotein. They stimulated rabies virus glycoprotein-specific T helper cells in the presence of antigen-presenting cells and were, furthermore, recognized by rabies virus-induced cytolytic T cells. In vivo, immunization of H-2-compatible mice with the transfected cell line led to a rabies virus glycoprotein-specific antibody response, and to protection against a subsequent challenge with live virus. We propose this procedure, i.e. use of cell lines transfected with plasmids expressing a viral protein under a mammalian promoter, as a simple and inexpensive method to screen individual viral proteins for their ability to elicit immune responses, including T helper cells, cytolytic T cells, antibodies, and protection against viral challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Rabies virus / genetics
  • Rabies virus / immunology*
  • Rabies virus / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Transfection
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / immunology*
  • Virology / methods*


  • Viral Proteins
  • GTP-Binding Proteins