The hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza A virus plays an essential role in mediating the entry of the virus into host cells. Here, recombinant full-length HA5 protein from a H5N1 isolate (A/chicken/hatay/2004(H5N1)) was expressed and purified from the baculovirus-insect cell system. As expected, full-length HA5 elicits strong neutralizing antibodies, as evaluated in microneutralization tests using HA5 pseudotyped lentiviral particles. In addition, two fragments of HA5 were expressed in bacteria and the N-terminal fragment, covering the ectodomain before the HA1/HA2 polybasic cleavage site, was found to elicit neutralizing antibodies. But the C-terminal fragment, which covers the remaining portion of the ectodomain, did not. Neutralizing titer of the anti-serum against the N-terminal fragment is only four times lower than the antiserum against the full-length HA5 protein. Using a novel membrane fusion assay, the abilities of these antibodies to block membrane fusion were found to correlate well with the neutralization activities.
- HA5 pseudotyped lentiviral particles
- Membrane fusion
- Neutralizing antibodies