Rotavirus strain A253, isolated from the faeces of a diarrhoeic piglet in Venezuela, was classified as serotype G11 by cross-neutralization studies and by comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of the VP7 surface protein. The epitopes involved in neutralization of the two G11 porcine rotavirus strains A253 and YM were analysed using neutralization-resistant mutants selected with seven neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), monotype-specific (M-) MAbs and serotype-specific (S-) MAbs, produced against VP7 of strain A253. Cross-neutralization tests and sequence analysis of the escape mutants selected from strains A253 and YM indicated the presence of two antigenic sites, one common to both M-MAbs and S-MAbs in region A (positions 87, 91 and 96) and the other defined by one S-MAb in region C (position 223). All A253 variants selected with M-MAbs and two S-MAbs, although having different amino acid substitutions, had a change at amino acid position 87, whereas YM variants involved residues 91 and 96, part of the same antigenic site. Compared to strain A253, the YM strain presents an amino acid substitution at position 87 and was not recognized by M-MAbs. These results suggest that in the VP7 of G11 serotype specificity, the amino acid at position 87 is an important component of a neutralization site associated with region A and the intraserotypic variation between strains A253 and YM may account for the selection of mutations at different positions by a single MAb.


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