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Open Access Research

Cloning and expression of N22 region of Torque Teno virus (TTV) genome and use of peptide in developing immunoassay for TTV antibodies

Dhananjay Singh Mankotia and Mohammad Irshad*

Author Affiliations

Clinical Biochemistry Division, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi 110029, India

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:96  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-96

Published: 20 May 2014



Torque Teno Virus (TTV) is a DNA virus with high rate of prevalence globally. Since its discovery in 1997, several studies have questioned the role of this virus in causing disease. However, it still remains an enigma. Although methods are available for detection of TTV infection, there is still a need for simple, rapid and reliable method for screening of this virus in human population. Present investigation describes the cloning and expression of N22 region of TTV-genome and the use of expressed peptide in development of immunoassay to detect anti-TTV antibodies in serum. Since TTV genotype-1 is more common in India, the serum positive for genotype-1 was used as source of N22 for expression purpose.


Full length N22 region of ORF1 from TTV genotype-1 was amplified and cloned in pGEMĀ®-T Easy vector. After cloning, the amplicon was transformed and expressed as a fusion protein containing hexa-histidine tag in pET-28a(+) vector using BL21 E. coli cells as host. Expression was conducted both in LB medium as well as ZYP-5052 auto-induction medium. The expressed peptide was purified using metal-chelate affinity chromatography and used as antigen in developing a blot immunoassay.


Analysis of translated product by SDS-PAGE and western blotting demonstrated the presence of 25 kDa polypeptide produced after expression. Solubility studies showed the polypeptide to be associated with insoluble fraction. The use of this peptide as antigen in blot assay produced prominent spot on membrane treated with sera from TTV-infected patients. Analysis of sera from 75 patients with liver and renal diseases demonstrated a successful implication of N22 polypeptide based immunoassay in screening sera for anti-TTV antibodies. Comparison of the immunoassay developed using expressed N22 peptide with established PCR method for TTV-DNA detection showed good coherence between TTV-DNA and presence of anti-TTV antibodies in the sera analysed.


This concludes that TTV N22 region may be expressed and safely used as antigen for blot assay to detect anti-TTV antibodies in sera.

Torque teno virus; Cloning; Immunoassay