The African swine fever virus proteins p54 and p30 are involved in two distinct steps of virus attachment and both contribute to the antibody-mediated protective immune response

Virology. 1998 Apr 10;243(2):461-71. doi: 10.1006/viro.1998.9068.


The nature of the initial interactions of African swine fever (ASF) virus with target cells is only partially known, and to date only the ASF virus protein p12 has been identified as a viral attachment protein. More recently, antibodies to viral proteins p54 and p30 have been shown to neutralize the virus, inhibiting virus binding and internalization, respectively. Therefore, we investigated the role of these proteins in the receptor-mediated ASF virus endocytosis in swine macrophages, the natural host cells. Proteins p54 and p30, released from ASF virus particles after treatment of virions with a nonionic detergent, bound to virus-sensitive alveolar pig macrophages. Binding of these proteins was found to be specifically inhibited by neutralizing antibodies obtained from a convalescent pig or from pigs immunized with recombinant p54 or p30 proteins. The baculovirus-expressed proteins p54 and p30 retained the same biological properties as the viral proteins, since they also bound specifically to these cells, and their binding was equally inhibited by neutralizing antibodies. Binding of 35S-labeled recombinant p54 and p30 proteins to macrophages was specifically competed by an excess of unlabeled p54 and p30, respectively. However, cross-binding inhibition was not observed, suggesting the existence of two different saturable binding sites for these proteins in the susceptible cells. In addition, protein p54 blocked the specific binding of virus particles to the macrophage, while protein p30 blocked virus internalization. Both proteins independently prevented virus infection and in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting that binding interactions mediated by both proteins are necessary to give rise to a productive infection. The relevance of blockade of virus-cell interactions mediated by p54 and p30 in the protective immune response against ASF virus was then investigated. Immunization of pigs with either recombinant p54 or p30 proteins induced neutralizing antibodies which, as expected, inhibited virus attachment or internalization, respectively. However, immunized pigs were not protected against lethal infection and the disease course was not modified in these animals. In contrast, immunization with a combination of p54 and p30 proteins simultaneously stimulated both virus neutralizing mechanisms and modified drastically the disease course, rendering a variable degree of protection ranging from a delay in the onset of the disease to complete protection against virus infection. In conclusion, the above results strongly suggest that proteins p54 and p30 mediate specific interactions between ASF virus and cellular receptors and that simultaneous interference with these two interactions has a complementary effect in antibody-mediated protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Swine Fever / prevention & control*
  • African Swine Fever Virus / immunology*
  • African Swine Fever Virus / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Macrophages, Alveolar / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / immunology*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • Swine
  • Vaccination
  • Viral Proteins / immunology*
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Viral Structural Proteins / immunology*
  • Viral Structural Proteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Structural Proteins
  • p54 protein, African swine fever virus
  • P30 protein, African Swine Fever Virus