The SBL-1 strain of mumps virus, grouping with genotype A on the basis of the small hydrophobic protein gene sequence, was grown in the presence of three different monoclonal antibodies. The monoclonal antibodies were directed against the haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein and they inhibited haemagglutinating activity and infectivity of the virus. The HN genes of the nine neutralization-escape virus mutants were sequenced and the predicted amino acid sequences were compared with that of the parental virus. Amino acid substitutions were found at positions 269, 352 and 354, respectively, of the 582 amino acid long protein. The three monoclonal antibodies did not react with 35 virus strains isolated in Stockholm during the years 1970 to 1985. Thirteen and four of the strains were found to belong to the D and C genotypes, respectively. A type-specific neutralization antibody response was also found in sera of rabbits hyperimmunized with purified virions of genotype A and D. The genotype-specific difference in neutralizing activity in mice and rabbits was not corroborated by an overall difference in the amino acid sequence of the HN protein of the different genotypes. Further studies are needed to explore the efficacy of mumps virus vaccines for protection against homologous and heterologous genotypes of mumps virus.


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