The immunological relationships between distemper viruses, isolated from a seal and mink in Denmark and from a dog in Greenland, were investigated with 39 previously developed monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) directed against four major structural proteins of canine distemper virus (CDV). They were also investigated with 16 newly developed MAbs directed against the fusion (F) and large glycoprotein (named H in analogy with measles virus) of phocid distemper virus (PDV) isolated from a harbour seal (). These MAbs were reacted with the three different isolated viruses and with the LEC strain of measles virus, in ELISA and immunofluorescence tests. In addition, immunoprecipitation tests were carried out with some of the cross-reacting antibodies. All 55 MAbs reacted identically with distemper virus isolated from seals or mink. When the MAbs produced against CDV were tested, 37 of 39 antibodies reacted with a virus isolated from a sled dog diseased in an outbreak of distemper in Greenland prior to the epizootic among seals in the North Sea. Of the 39 antibodies, 25 reacted with PDV and distemper virus isolated from mink. Of these antibodies, only three of the nine antibodies directed against the H protein of CDV cross-reacted with PDV and distemper virus from mink. Eleven MAbs, reacting with six epitopes of the H protein of PDV, were produced. All 11 antibodies reacted with distemper virus from mink, two of the antibodies reacted with CDV and none reacted with measles virus. All five antibodies reacting with three different epitopes of the F protein of PDV reacted with distemper virus from mink and CDV. Of these five antibodies three, directed against two epitopes, reacted with measles virus. Of the two envelope proteins, the H protein shows pronounced immunological differences between PDV and CDV. In contrast, immunologically the F protein appears to be well conserved among morbilliviruses. It is concluded that the virus causing the epizootic in seals in the North Sea in 1988 may have infected mink on land, or, alternatively, the virus in the sea may have originated from virus-infected mink.


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