Western blotting and immunoperoxidase staining with monoclonal antibodies were employed to analyse epitopic and polypeptide molecular weight variation among isolates of respiratory syncytial (RS) virus collected in Newcastle between 1965 and 1986. One group of isolates resembled the A2 and Long prototype subgroup A strains of RS virus in possessing a P protein of 34000. Isolates in this subgroup showed two patterns of reactivity with subgroup A-specific monoclonal antibodies to the G glycoprotein and 22K protein. Isolates with both reactivity patterns were isolated throughout the period studied. Isolates in the second group resembled the 8/60 subgroup B prototype strain in their lack of reactivity to subgroup A-specific monoclonal antibodies but were heterogeneous in P protein molecular weight. The earliest isolate only, made in 1965, possessed a P protein of 31000 resembling the prototype strain. All subsequent subgroup B isolates possessed a higher , 33000, P protein. Overall, subgroup A viruses were isolated most frequently although subgroup B strains may have predominated in some epidemics.

Keyword(s): MAbs , RS virus and subgroups

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