The antigenic sites A and C (the G-H loop and the C terminus, respectively) in VP1 of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) have been considered the immunodominant regions of the virus involved in the induction of protection. Other antigenic sites have been described but their involvement in protection has not been established. Here we report that two closely related but serologically different FMDVs (the field isolate C Argentina/84 and the vaccine strain C Resende Br/55) have identical A and C sites but differ at other antigenic sites. Such differences have been documented by reactivity with a panel of 28 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). The two viruses reacted to the same extent with each of 13 MAbs which recognized epitopes within sites A or C, but reacted differently with six out of 15 MAbs that recognized other sites. Accordingly, sequencing of the entire region coding for the capsid proteins, for both viruses, revealed four amino acid substitutions at three antigenic sites other than A and C. The results suggest that identity of sites A and C may not be sufficient to induce cross-protection, and provide the first evidence of significant antigenic diversification of FMDV in the field mediated by amino acid substitutions outside sites A or C.


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