Vaccinia virus (VACV), the vaccine for smallpox, induces an antibody response that is largely responsible for conferring protection. Here, we studied the antibody response to VACV by generating and characterizing B cell hybridomas from a mouse immunized with VACV. Antibodies from 66 hybridomas were found to recognize 11 VACV antigens (D8, A14, WR148, D13, H3, A56, A33, C3, B5, A10 and F13), 10 of which were previously recognized as major antigens in smallpox vaccine by a microarray of VACV proteins produced with a prokaryotic expression system. VACV C3 protein, which was not detected as a target of antibody response by the proteome array, was recognized by two hybridomas, suggesting that selection of hybridomas based on immune recognition of infected cells has the advantage of detecting additional antibody response to native VACV antigens. In addition, these monoclonal antibodies are valuable reagents for studying poxvirus biology and protective mechanism of smallpox vaccine.
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