First author: Department of Plant Production, P.O. Box 27, 00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, and Department of Biology, Plant Physiology, and Molecular Biology, 20014 University of Turku, Turku, Finland; and second and third authors: Virology Department, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, United Kingdom
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Accepted for publication 3 December 1997.
Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies that bind to black currant reversion associated virus (BRAV) were obtained from a synthetic phage display antibody gene library without recourse to animal immunizations. Several different BRAV-specific phage scFv were obtained quickly, after only three rounds of selection against immobilized virus antigen. The phage scFv gave enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) absorbance values that were greater than seven times the control healthy plant extracts. In contrast, comparative tests using a rabbit antiserum failed, because unacceptably high background values were obtained with healthy plant extracts. Two of the scFv were subcloned into the pDAP2 vector for the rapid and efficient production of scFv-alkaline phosphatase fusion proteins. Functional fusion proteins were obtained after expression in Escherichia coli, and preparations from periplasmic extracts detected BRAV in ELISA. The results demonstrate that antibody fragments obtained from a synthetic phage display library are useful research tools, and they proved to be a viable practical alternative when traditional antisera failed to detect BRAV, a weak immunogen. Furthermore, the genetic fusion of antibody fragments to alkaline phosphatase obviates the need for further chemical coupling procedures, and the fusion proteins can be obtained cheaply.
© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society