Antigenic variation in the glycoprotein of rabies (CVS-11) virus was studied. Neutralization-resistant variant viruses were isolated at high frequency (10 to 10) in the presence of anti-glycoprotein monoclonal antibody. Analysis of these variants identified at least three functionally independent antigenic sites, based on the grouping of variants that were no longer neutralized by one or more of a panel of 24 monoclonal antibodies. Competition radioimmunoassay suggested that one of these three antigenic sites was topologically distinct, with the other two in close proximity. In addition, it was shown that most (but not all) neutralization-resistant variants failed to bind the relevant monoclonal antibody. Viruses with altered antigenicity were shown to accumulate in virus stocks following several passages in the absence of antibody. In addition, variants were isolated following treatment of mice with monoclonal antibody.


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