Thirty-one monoclonal antibodies, specific for either the nucleoprotein (N) or the non-structural protein (NS; nucleocapsid-associated protein) of the nucleocapsid of the ERA strain of rabies virus, were used to investigate the topography of antigenic sites on the nucleocapsid complex. Based on the results of a competitive enzyme immunoabsorbent assay using these antibodies, five spatially distinct antigenic sites were defined: three on the N protein (groups N I, N II and N III) and two on the NS protein (groups NS I and NS II). Antigenic variations among various street and laboratory strains of rabies virus were analysed by indirect immunofluorescence assay with the monoclonal antibodies specific for the nucleocapsid. Some correlation between the natural nucleocapsid variation and the antigenic topographical map was observed.

Keyword(s): competitive binding , N , NS and rabies virus

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