Life Sciences, Virology; H7N9 avian influenza; pseudovirus; neutralization assay; relative luminescence units (RLU)
In March 2013, a novel avian influenza A H7N9 virus was emerged in China, which cause rapidly progressive pneumonia and with a high fatality rate. Serologic studies to evaluate neutralizing antibodies of infected patients and birds are invaluable tools for immunogenicity research of H7N9 and epidemiological investigation. Conventional neutralization assays are laborious and time-consuming which also hampered by biosafety requirement. In this study, We construct and produce pseudovirus bearing the full-length hemagglutinin (HA) of H7N9 virus in the Env-defective, luciferase-expressing HIV-1 backbone. The production of lentiviral pseudovirus was analysed by HA gene specific real-time reverse-transcription PCR, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Western Blot assay to prove the nucleic acid replication, the morphology of virus, and the expression of HA protein in pseudovirus. After that pseudovirus based inhibition assay was established to detect neutralizing antibodies of a panel of serum samples. Our results demonstrated that H7N9 pseudovirus which had single-cycle infection was generated. By comparing the neutralization antibody titers, pseudovirus based neutralization test could be recognized as an alternative of conventional microneutralization (MN). Hence, we conclude that it is possible to use pseudovirus inhibition assay to screen sera samples, as well as evaluate vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies against H7N9 virus.