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Open Access Nano Express

Rapid screening and identification of dominant B cell epitopes of HBV surface antigen by quantum dot-based fluorescence polarization assay

Zhongji Meng2, Ruihua Song1, Yue Chen2, Yang Zhu1, Yanhui Tian1, Ding Li1* and Daxiang Cui3*

Author Affiliations

1 Center of Biotechnological Diagnosis and Therapy, The 261st Hospital of PLA, Beijing 100094, China

2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Taihe Hospital, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan 442000, China

3 Key Laboratory for Thin Film and Microfabrication Technology of Ministry of Education, Research Institute of Micro/Nano Science and Technology, Department of Bio-Nano Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:118  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-118

Published: 2 March 2013


A method for quickly screening and identifying dominant B cell epitopes was developed using hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigen as a target. Eleven amino acid fragments from HBV surface antigen were synthesized by 9-fluorenylmethoxy carbonyl solid-phase peptide synthesis strategy, and then CdTe quantum dots were used to label the N-terminals of all peptides. After optimizing the factors for fluorescence polarization (FP) immunoassay, the antigenicities of synthetic peptides were determined by analyzing the recognition and combination of peptides and standard antibody samples. The results of FP assays confirmed that 10 of 11 synthetic peptides have distinct antigenicities. In order to screen dominant antigenic peptides, the FP assays were carried out to investigate the antibodies against the 10 synthetic peptides of HBV surface antigen respectively in 159 samples of anti-HBV surface antigen-positive antiserum. The results showed that 3 of the 10 antigenic peptides may be immunodominant because the antibodies against them existed more widely among the samples and their antibody titers were higher than those of other peptides. Using three dominant antigenic peptides, 293 serum samples were detected for HBV infection by FP assays; the results showed that the antibody-positive ratio was 51.9% and the sensitivity and specificity were 84.3% and 98.2%, respectively. In conclusion, a quantum dot-based FP assay is a very simple, rapid, and convenient method for determining immunodominant antigenic peptides and has great potential in applications such as epitope mapping, vaccine designing, or clinical disease diagnosis in the future.

Dominant epitope; Quantum dots; Antigenic peptide; Fluorescence polarization; HBV; Surface antigen