The nucleoprotein genes of influenza virus A/Netherlands/018/94 (H3N2) and influenza virus B/Harbin/7/94 were cloned into the bacterial expression vector pMalC to yield highly purified recombinant influenza virus A and B nucleoproteins. With these recombinant influenza nucleoproteins, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were developed for the detection of influenza virus A- and B-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG serum antibodies. Serum samples were collected at consecutive time points after the onset of clinical symptoms from patients with confirmed influenza virus A or B infections. Nucleoprotein-specific IgA antibodies were detected in 41.2% of influenza virus A-infected patients and in 66. 7% of influenza virus B-infected patients on day 6 after the onset of clinical symptoms. In serum samples taken on day 21 (influenza virus A-infected patients) or day 28 (influenza virus B-infected patients), nucleoprotein-specific IgA antibodies could be detected in 58.8 and 58.3% of influenza virus A- and B-infected patients, respectively. At the same time, IgG antibody rises were detected in 88.2% of influenza virus A-infected patients and in 95.8% of influenza virus B-infected patients. On comparison, hemagglutination inhibition assays detected antibody titer rises in 81.3 and 72.7% of patients infected with influenza viruses A and B, respectively. In contrast to the detection of nucleoprotein-specific IgG antibodies or hemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies, the detection of nucleoprotein-specific IgA antibodies does not require paired serum samples and therefore can be considered an attractive alternative for the rapid serological diagnosis of influenza.

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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Groen, J, van Alphen, D, Claas, E.C.J, de Groot, R, Rimmelzwaan, G.F, Voeten, J.T.M, & Osterhaus, A.D.M.E. (1998). Use of recombinant nucleoproteins in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for detection of virus-specific immunoglobulin A (IgA) and IgG antibodies in influenza virus A- or B-infected patients. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Retrieved from