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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Development of High Priority Immune Reagents for Food Security [Swine Portion]

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop immunologic tools to enhance our understanding of swine immune system development and host responses to mucosal diseases. The cooperator is interested in preventing infectious disease and controlling their spread through development of effective therapeutics and vaccines for cattle and swine.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Increase the understanding of how pigs responds to infection, by developing reagents that identify immune proteins [type I interferons (IFNs) and the IFN-alpha/beta receptor (IFNAR)] that regulate the early, or “innate” immune events. The COOPERATOR will assist in the development of similar reagents for cattle. Specifically, 19 reagents are identified by DHS and USDA-ARS as high priority reagents for US VIRN to develop to support foreign animal disease research programs (e.g., Foot and Mouth Disease; Rift Valley Fever; Classical Swine Fever).

3. Progress Report:
Under this Agreement, funded through a USDA/NIFA/AFRI and Department of Homeland Security grant to University of Massachusetts-Amherst, swine innate immune reagents were developed to help scientists probe immune responses to infectious disease threats and to improve vaccine design. This grant added funding for the U.S. Veterinary Immunological Reagents Network (VIRN) ( and was planned to add impetus to the development of immunological reagents for swine and cattle. ARS researchers at Beltsville, MD, (BARC), working with Kansas State University scientists have expressed swine type 1 interferons (IFNs), specifically, several IFN-alphas (IFNa1, IFNa6, IFNa9) and IFN-beta, using mammalian cells. These products were transferred to Cornell University to prepare monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to these unique IFNs. Separately, the gene for their receptor, IFNAR1/2, was cloned and expressed. To date several panels of mAbs have been screened at BARC and found to be reactive with all IFNas. Alternate immunization protocols are now being pursued to target mAb reactive with only one IFNa gene product. Progress for these efforts has been documented on the VIRN swine website. Products generated by this grant and by VIRN will be used by animal health researchers, veterinarians, vaccine manufacturers, and other commercial sources to improve responses to infectious disease outbreaks.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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