Maintenance of measles (SSPE-Lec) virus persistently infected C6 rat glioma cells in medium containing polyclonal measles antiserum resulted in the loss of detectable expression of all measles virus proteins. Removal of these cells from antiserum, however, led to a re-expression of virus proteins and the production of infectious virus. Cloning of antibody-modulated non-expressing cells in the presence of antiserum showed that re-expression of virus proteins was not due to an incomplete curing process following the addition of antiserum, as a large number of non-expressing cell clones developed the capacity to express measles virus antigen at different periods after removal of antiserum. Irradiation of persistently infected cells to give a non-growing culture showed that modulation was not mediated by a selection and outgrowth of a small percentage of non-expressing cells originally present in the culture. Antibody directed against C6 membrane proteins did not lead to modulation and it was also shown that only monoclonal antibodies with neutralizing activity could affect intracellular antigen expression. Immunoglobulin Fab fragments with neutralizing activity also had modulating activity. Although all modulated cell clones were more susceptible to homologous virus infection than control C6 cells, it was not possible to rescue any defective measles virus which may have been maintained in the culture.


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