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The membrane on the surface of hepatitis E virus particles is derived from the intracellular membrane and contains trans-Golgi network protein 2

Nagashima, S;Takahashi, M;Jirintai, S;Tanggis, ;Kobayashi, T;Nishizawa, T;Okamoto, H;

Our previous studies demonstrated that hepatitis E virus (HEV) requires the multivesicular body (MVB) pathway to release virus particles, suggesting that HEV utilizes the cellular ESCRT machinery in the cytoplasm, not at the cell surface, to be released from infected cells. In this study, we generated a murine monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the membrane-associated HEV particles to examine whether the membrane is derived from intracellular vesicles or the cell surface. An established mAb, TA1708, was found to capture the membrane-associated HEV particles, but not the membrane-dissociated particles or fecal HEV, in an immunocapture RT-PCR assay. Furthermore, digitonin treatment confirmed that the membrane on the surface of cell-culture-generated HEV particles was a lipid membrane. Double immunofluorescence staining revealed that mAb TA1708 specifically recognizes trans-Golgi network protein 2 (TGOLN2), an intracellular antigen derived from the trans-Golgi network. Supporting these findings, HEV particles with lipid membranes and ORF3 proteins on their surface were found abundantly in the lysates of HEV-infected cells. These results indicate that HEV forms membrane-associated particles in the cytoplasm, most likely by budding into intracellular vesicles, and that the released HEV particles with a lipid membrane retain the antigenicity of TGOLN2 on their surface.