Three isolates of feline calicivirus (FCV) designated NADC, KCD and CFI/68 were compared for biochemical, serological and genetic variation within the capsid protein gene. The of the capsid protein from purified virions was approximately 66000 for the NADC virus isolate, which differed slightly from the relative mobilities of the purified capsid proteins of the KCD and CFI/68 isolates. Polyclonal antisera from either cats infected or rabbits hyperimmunized with the CFI/68 isolate cross-reacted with all three isolates by Western blot analysis. However, these polyclonal antisera to CFI/68 varied considerably in their virus-neutralization titres to the KCD and NADC isolates. Nucleotide sequence data confirmed the genetic variability among these FCV isolates. Comparison of the predicted amino acid sequence of the capsid protein among isolates revealed two regions of sequence divergence that probably contain the antigenically variable determinants. These hypervariable regions may vary by as much as 55% among isolates of FCV. The amino acid sequence diversity in the hypervariable regions of the KCD and NADC isolates correlated well with the virus-neutralization data and suggests that polyvalent vaccines may be more protective than the commonly used monovalent vaccines.


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