Polyclonal antisera were generated against bacterially derived fusion proteins of the open reading frames (ORFs) of the capsid proteins of cottontail rabbit papillomavirus (CRPV). The carboxy-terminal two-thirds of CRPV L1 and the carboxy-terminal half of CRPV L2 were cloned into a bacterial expression vector and induced proteins were used as antigen and immunogen. The polyclonal antisera were tested in a series of immunological assays, including ELISA, Western blot, and neutralization of CRPV. ELISA demonstrated that the polyclonal antisera raised against expressed L1 proteins reacted strongly to disrupted CRPV virion antigen and weakly both to intact CRPV virion and disrupted BPV-1 virion. Anti-CRPV L2 antisera reacted strongly only to intact and disrupted CRPV virion antigen. Viral capsid proteins of CRPV were detected in Western blots of HPV-11, BPV-1, and CRPV virus particles by these polyclonal antisera. The anti-L1 sera recognized the major capsid protein (60 kDa) and the anti-L2 sera identified a 76-kDa viral protein of CRPV. Only the antisera generated against expressed L2 neutralized CRPV. The neutralizing titer of the anti-L2 sera, however, was several orders of magnitude lower than the titer of a neutralizing polyclonal antiserum that was generated by immunizations with intact CRPV virions.
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