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Research Project: Prediction of T-cell Epitopes for Lumpy Skin Disease Virus

Location: Foreign Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 3022-32000-063-038-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2023
End Date: Jul 31, 2024

Agreement with CFIA to predict the structures of Caripoxviruses including lumpy skin disease (LSD) and use these structures to predict T-cell epitopes that can be tested using experimental vaccines for LSD. Members of the capripoxviruses genus include sheeppox virus, goatpox virus and lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) which infect sheep, goats and cattle respectively and have a highly similar genome. Capripoxviruses cause significant production losses in their respective hosts and trade restrictions where there are present. Capripoxviruses belong to the family Poxviridae which have a large double stranded genome, with LSDV encoding for 156 putative genes. The understanding of the function of capripoxvirus genes is limited to predicted functions from other poxviruses with homologue genes. Currently there is a lack of solved protein structures LSDV proteins, although there are several crystal structures for vaccinia virus proteins.

Using prediction programs, ARS will predict the structure of all LSDV proteins and use programs to predict the potential function. In addition, ARS will use these structures to predict putative immune epitopes in LSDV proteins including antibody and T cell epitopes. Since the protective antigens for capripoxviruses are not currently known, these predictions will aid the identification of these antigens which is needed to develop next generation capripoxvirus vaccines. Furthermore the identification of T cell epitopes is also important for developing both vaccines and diagnostics for capripoxviruses. The information generated will be tested using experimental vaccines by the cooperator for LSDV to confirm the reliability of epitope prediction using predicted structures.