Background: Hepatitis C virus infection is one of global health concern. No vaccine is available so far and nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) is one of the main target antigens for developing studies on therapeutic vaccine and diagnostic application. In the current study, we expressed a truncated recombinant HCV-NS3 protein under native condition and evaluated its potential applications in immunization and diagnosis.
Methods: The recombinant pET-NS3 containing a truncated form of HCV NS3 region was constructed, confirmed by sequencing reactions, and expressed into E.coli BL21-DE3 strain. The expressed protein was purified by affinity chromatography under native condition. Characterization of diagnostic value and immunogenicity of this recombinant protein were analyzed by using an indirect ELISA method.
Results: Our data showed that a truncated NS3 which contains the immunodominant region of this protein was successfully expressed and purified with a high yield of 3 mg/L. Our data showed that the immunogenicity of this truncated protein can induce a specific humoral response, as well as the usage for screening of HCV positive blood samples.
Conclusions: Altogether, the present study provides a simple and efficient system for protein expression and purification of an immunodominant region of NS3-HCV in native conformation and its potential application for diagnosis and vaccine development in future.