A field strain of Sendai virus (SeV) Ohita-M1 (M1) was isolated from an epidemic in an animal laboratory by passaging in mice. A mutant strain, Ohita-MVC11 (MVC11), was then obtained by passaging M1 in rhesus monkey (LLC-MK2) cells. MVC11 was adapted to LLC-MK2 cells and produced 20 times higher levels of infectious virus than M1. This increased production of infectious virus in LLC-MK2 cells was associated with enhanced viral gene expression. However, MVC11 could not replicate efficiently in mouse lung and was not lethal to mice even when inoculated at a titre of 8 x 10(5) cell-infecting units (CIU) per mouse. On the other hand, with an inoculum of only 4 x 10(1) CIU per mouse, corresponding to 1 LD50, M1 replicated well in mouse lung and was highly virulent to mice. Nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequence analyses of the entire genomes of M1 and MVC11 revealed that adaptation to LLC-MK2 cells and the attenuation of mouse pathogenicity of MVC11 were associated with only two amino acid substitutions; one on the C protein (Phe substituted by Ser at position 170) and the other on the RNA polymerase, the L protein (Glu substituted by Ala at position 2050).


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