Three anti-VP7 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) which neutralized only two strains (K8 and S12) of five serotype 1 human rotaviruses (HRVs) were obtained, and neutralization epitopes recognized by these ‘monotype-specific’ MAbs were analysed by epitope mapping and sequencing of the VP7 genes. Neutralization-resistant mutants of K8 and S12 were selected by the monotype-specific MAbs and serotype 1-specific MAbs prepared previously. Cross-neutralization tests between MAbs and neutralization-resistant mutants of K8 and S12 indicated that epitopes of monotype-specific MAbs operationally overlap with those of serotype 1-specific and cross-reactive MAbs recognizing the S1 region. Sequence analyses of the VP7 genes indicated that VP7s of strains K8 and S12, which belong to a monotype of serotype 1 viruses, possessed amino acids at positions 42 and 87 different from other serotype 1 HRVs. Furthermore, amino acid substitution sites of representative mutants of K8, selected by the monotype-specific MAbs, were identified at positions 96, 97 and 100. These results imply that amino acids in variable region B (amino acids 87 to 101) are involved in the monotype-specific neutralization epitope as well as serotype-specific neutralization epitopes.


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