Combination of Epstein-Barr virus scaffold (BdRF1/VCA-p40) and small capsid protein (BFRF3/VCA-p18) into a single molecule for improved serodiagnosis of acute and malignant EBV-driven disease

Jajah Fachiroh*, Servi J. C. Stevens, Sofia M. Haryana, Jaap M. Middeldorp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Current single Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) markers fail to reach 100% sensitivity for serodiagnosis of acute and malignant diseases associated with EBV infection. Previous study had identified immunodominant epitopes of VCA-p40 and VCA-p18, and indicated that these two VCA antigens may have diagnostic value for EBV-related diseases. A recombinant protein of the full-length BdRF1 fused to the immunodominant domain of BFRF3 as 6-his tagged protein in Escherichia coli was developed. The recombinant protein was extracted in 8M urea solution and purified by metal-affinity chromatography yielding a 55 kDa product (VCA-p40+18). VCA-p40+18 blot-strips examined for IgM reactivity in infectious mononucleosis samples yielded 100% sensitivity and specificity, with improved reactivity compared with IgM/VCA-p18-ELISAs. A recent study described a synthetic peptide-based IgA/[EBNA1+VCA-p18]-ELISA (IgA/EBV-ELISA), with a sensitivity of 90% for diagnosing nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Immunoblot analysis of biopsy-confirmed nasopharyngeal carcinoma cases with low or negative IgA/EBV-ELISA showed 100% IgG reactivity to VCA-p40 and VCA-p18 proteins. Evaluation of VCA-p40+18 as an additional marker for screening and diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma was carried out. The data showed positive IgA/VCA-p40+18 reactivity by ELISA for 63.6% (14 of 22) nasopharyngeal carcinoma samples that were missed by peptide-based IgA/EBV-ELISA, suggested VCA-p40+18 as an improved marker for nasopharyngeal carcinoma serodiagnosis. The VCA-p40+18 may be combined with an EBNA1 synthetic peptide as an antigen mixture in one or separate IgA ELISA for improved nasopharyngeal carcinoma serodiagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
JournalJournal of Virological Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Recombinant VCA-p40+18
  • Serology

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