A new monoclonal antibody (mAb), CCV2-2, was compared with the widely used FIPV3-70 mAb, both directed against canine coronavirus (CCoV), as a diagnostic and research tool. Western blot showed that both anti-CCoV mAbs only reacted with a protein of 50 kD, a weight consistent with the feline coronavirus (FCoV) viral nucleocapsid. A competitive inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed that the 2 recognized epitopes are distinct. Preincubation of CCV2-2 mAb with FCoV antigen suppressed the immunostaining. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections from brains of 15 cats with the dry form of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) were examined by immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemistry was performed with both anti-CCoV mAbs, either on consecutive or on the same sections. A myeloid-histiocytic marker, MAC 387, was also used to identify FIP virus-infected cells. In all regions where MAC 387-positive cells were present, positive staining with the CCV2-2 mAb was systematically detected, except at some levels in 1 cat. In contrast, none or only a few cells were positive for the FIPV3-70 mAb. Double immunostaining showed macrophages that were immunopositive for either CCV2-2 alone or alternatively for CCV2-2 and FIPV3-70 mAbs. This reveals the coexistence of 2 cohorts of phagocytes whose FIP viral contents differed by the presence or absence of the FIPV3-70-recognized epitope. These findings provide evidence for antigenic heterogeneity in coronavirus nucleocapsid protein in FIP lesions, a result that is in line with molecular observations. In addition, we provide for the first time morphologic depiction of viral variants distribution in these lesions.
Detection of antigenic heterogeneity in feline coronavirus nucleocapsid in feline pyogranulomatous meningoencephalitis / PONCELET, L; COPPENS, A; PEETERS, D; BIANCHI, E.; GRANT, C.K; KADHIM, H. - In: VETERINARY PATHOLOGY. - ISSN 0300-9858. - 45(2008), pp. 140-153. [10.1354/vp.45-2-140]