Twenty tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) isolates were serologically compared in ELISA employing five different procedures using a rabbit polyclonal antiserum against nucleocapsid proteins (NuAb) and mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), two directed to nucleocapsid proteins (N1 and N2) and four directed to glycoproteins G1 to G4. All the antisera were raised against TSWV-CNPH. The 20 isolates were differentiated into two distinct serogroups. Serogroup I consisting of 16 isolates strongly reacted with NuAb. The other four isolates were poorly recognized by NuAb and were placed in another serogroup, designated II. The panel of MAbs differentiated the TSWV isolates into three serotypes. The 16 isolates forming serogroup I reacted strongly with the MAbs generated and were identified as serotype I isolates. The four isolates which made up serogroup II were split into serotypes II and III. The serotype II isolates did not respond or responded poorly with MAbs N1, N2 and G3. The two other isolates placed in serotype III were recognized by N1 but not by N2 and G3. Two isolates became defective after several mechanical passages and failed to respond or responded very poorly with MAbs directed to glycoproteins. Our results show that ELISA employing polyclonal and monoclonal antisera is a useful tool to differentiate TSWV isolates and to detect defective forms. The results also strongly suggest that TSWV nucleocapsid proteins are less conserved than the glycoproteins.


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