Impedance-based biosensing known as real-time cell electronic sensing (RT-CES) belongs to an emerging technology for analyzing the status of cells in vitro. In the present study protocols were developed for an RT-CES-based system (xCELLigence™, Roche Applied Science, ACEA Biosciences Inc.) to supplement conventional techniques in pox virology. First, proliferation of cells susceptible to orthopoxviruses was monitored. For virus titration cells were infected with vaccinia virus and cell status, represented by the dimensionless impedance-based cell index (CI), was monitored. A virus-dose dependent decrease in electrical impedance could be shown. Calculation of calibration curves at a suitable CI covering a dynamic range of 4log enabled the quantification of virus titers in unknown samples. Similarly, antiviral effects could be determined as shown for anti-poxviral agents ST-246 and Cidofovir. Published values for the in vitro concentration that inhibited virus replication by 50% (IC50) could be confirmed while cytotoxicity in effective concentrations was excluded in long-term incubation experiments. Finally, an RT-CES-based virus neutralization test was established. Various poxvirus-specific antibodies were examined for their neutralizing activity and a calculation mode for the neutralizing antibody titer was introduced. In summary, the presented RT-CES-based methods outmatch end-point assays by observing the cell population throughout the entire experiment while workload and time to result are reduced. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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