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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

2013 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
U.S. Veterinary Immune Reagent Network (US VIRN) was established in 2005 and represents a broad community plan to systematically address the immunological reagent gap for the U.S. veterinary immunology research community. It includes the following groups: ruminants (concentrating on cattle), swine, poultry (primarily chickens with some evaluation of reagents for turkeys), horses, and aquaculture species (concentrating on channel catfish and trout). For this renewal the groups will develop sets of reagents, i.e. monoclonal antibodies (mAb), that can identify the major leukocyte cell populations (T and B lymphocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils) to evaluate changes during disease and to allow scientists to manipulate them in vitro and in vivo. Such manipulations enable evaluation of the cell population’s role in protective immunity and immunopathology. In addition they will clone and expreess recombinant cytokines and chemokines (the soluble messenger molecules of the immune system) using mammalian, yeast, and bacterial systems. They will develop mAb to these proteins and their receptors to facilitate understanding of their contributions to disease and pathology. Finally, reagents to identify immunoglobulin (Ig) isotypes are needed since isotypes differ from one another functionally and thus in their effect on disease outcome. The reagents will benefit a large group of U.S. and international researchers including veterinary immunologists, pathologists and microbiologists.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Prioritization of reagents (tools) to be produced will be established by surveying experts within the relevant scientific community and commercial companies as well as cooperating with similar international efforts to avoid redundancy and target the most useful reagents for research scientists. These reagents will include 1) Cytokines: bioactive recombinant proteins as well as antibodies to them; 2) mAbs to: Cytokine receptors, Ig isotypes, T cell receptor (TCR) constant and variable regions, Toll like (TLR) receptors, and other pattern recognition receptors and regulatory receptors including NKG2 family members and KIR. The mAb will have the following properties: 1) For anti-cytokines mAb: mAb pairs for ELISA, ELISpot and fluorescent microsphere immunoassay (FMIA), or Luminex, assays. For these assays mAb need to react with 2 different epitopes on the same molecule. Additionally single mAb are needed for intracellular staining for cytokines; 2) For anti-receptor mAb: mAb that block function and signaling molecules (e.g. TLR); and 3) For cell surface or CD molecule mAbs: mAb that react with native molecules to stain viable cells for flow cytometric analyses; as well as mAb that react in fixed tissue sections. The reagents will be provided to the scientific community by depositing in commercial cell banks and encouraging generation and distribution through commercial vendors.

3. Progress Report:
New swine reagents were developed to help scientists probe normal immune responses and infectious disease threats. ARS researchers at Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) worked with University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass) scientists to address the dearth of immunological reagents for food animal species as part of the U.S. Veterinary Immunological Reagents Network (VIRN) ( BARC researchers scanned commercial websites and publications to verify currently available reagents for swine immunology and identify targets for new reagents. They worked with commercial partner, Kingfisher Biotech Inc., to express, and affirmed bioactivity of, several recombinant proteins, e.g., the regulatory cytokines, interleukin-17A (IL-17A) and IL-17F. Monoclonal antibody development is underway at UMass. Overall, as a result of VIRN efforts swine disease and vaccine researchers have improved tools to improve pig health and well-being and develop better vaccine designs.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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