The majority of neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to the haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) glycoprotein of Newcastle disease virus prevent attachment of the virus to cellular receptors and inhibits virion-induced fusion from without (FFWO) and fusion from within (FFWI) mediated by the virus glycoprotein-laden infected cell surface. For these antibodies, the inhibition of fusion is presumed to be the result of the prevention of HN-mediated bridging of potential fusion partners. MAbs against antigenic sites 3 and 4 neutralize virus infectivity, but by a mechanism other than the prevention of attachment, the exact nature of which remains to be established. Antibodies to both of these sites effectively inhibit virion-induced FFWO, even when the inducing virus is not infectious. This is consistent with the mechanism of neutralization of these MAbs involving the inhibition of an early, post-attachment step in infection. MAbs to site 3 also inhibit FFWI, but those to site 4 do not, even when added at high concentrations. This suggests that the requirement for HN may be different in the two modes of fusion. The epitopes recognized by MAbs to sites 3 and 4 have been delineated by the identification of individual nucleotide substitutions in the HN genes of neutralization escape variants. Some of the deduced amino acid substitutions result in additional -linked glycosylation sites in HN, which are utilized and presumably account for the escape from neutralization.


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