Monocloral antibodies (MAbs) against Puumala (PUU) virus, the aetiological agent of nephropathia epidemica, were produced by fusing activated spleen cells from a bank vole () with the mouse myeloma cell line SP2/0. This novel approach, utilizing the natural vector of PUU virus for hybridoma production, proved to be highly efficient, and eight stable PUU virus-specific heterohybridomas were isolated and characterized. The bank vole MAbs were all specific for the nucleocapsid protein (N) of PUU virus, as determined by immunoprecipitation. When evaluated by additivity immunoassays, the MAbs were found to recognize several different, distinct or overlapping, epitopes on N. The MAbs were used in immunofluorescence assays to compare eight PUU-related virus isolates, and the prototype Hantaan, Urban rat and Prospect Hill viruses. The reactivity varied among the different MAbs and could be classified into five groups. One MAb reacted exclusively with PUU-related viruses; two MAbs reacted with all PUU-related virus strains tested, as well as Prospect Hill virus, but did not react with Urban rat virus and Hantaan virus; one MAb reacted with all PUU-related virus strains tested and weakly with Hantaan virus, but not with Urban rat and Prospect Hill viruses; two MAbs reacted with all the virus strains tested. Two virus strains, K-27 and CG-1820, isolated in the western U.S.S.R., were distinguished from the other PUU-related virus strains by two MAbs, suggesting that the large group of independently isolated PUU-related viruses may be more heterogeneous than previously believed.


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