Development of a high-throughput assay to measure the neutralization capability of anti-cytomegalovirus antibodies

Thomas J. Gardner, Cynthia Bolovan-Fritts, Melissa W. Teng, Veronika Redmann, Thomas A. Kraus, Rhoda Sperling, Thomas Moran, William Britt, Leor S. Weinberger, Domenico Tortorella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Infection by human cytomegalovirus (CMV) elicits a strong humoral immune response and robust anti-CMV antibody production. Diagnosis of virus infection can be carried out by using a variety of serological assays; however, quantification of serum antibodies against CMV may not present an accurate measure of a patient's ability to control a virus infection. CMV strains that express green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins can be used as screening tools for evaluating characteristics of CMV infection in vitro. In this study, we employed a CMV virus strain, AD169, that ectopically expresses a yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fused to the immediate-early 2 (IE2) protein product (AD169IE2-YFP) to quantify a CMV infection in human cells. We created a high-throughput cell-based assay that requires minimal amounts of material and provides a platform for rapid analysis of the initial phase of virus infection, including virus attachment, fusion, and immediate-early viral gene expression. The AD169IE2-YFP cell infection system was utilized to develop a neutralization assay with a monoclonal antibody against the viral surface glycoprotein gH. The high-throughput assay was extended to measure the neutralization capacity of serum from CMV-positive subjects. These findings describe a sensitive and specific assay for the quantification of a key immunological response that plays a role in limiting CMV dissemination and transmission. Collectively, we have demonstrated that a robust high-throughput infection assay can analyze the early steps of the CMV life cycle and quantify the potency of biological reagents to attenuate a virus infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-550
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


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