1887

Abstract

Measles virus (MV) infection and vaccination induce long-lasting immunity and neutralizing-antibody responses that are directed against the MV haemagglutinin (H) and the fusion (F) protein. A new MV genotype, D7, emerged recently in western Germany and rapidly replaced the long-term endemically circulating genotypes C2 and D6. Analysis of the H gene of C2, D6, D7 and vaccine viruses revealed uniform sequences for each genotype. Interestingly, a consistent exchange of seven distinct amino acids in the D7 H was observed when compared with residues shared between C2, D6 and vaccine viruses, and one exchange (D416→N) in the D7 H was associated with an additional -linked glycosylation. In contrast, the F gene is highly conserved between MVs of these genotypes. To test whether the D7 H protein escapes from antibody responses that were raised against earlier circulating or vaccine viruses, the neutralizing capacity of mAbs recognizing seven distinct domains on the H of an Edmonston-related MV was compared. The mAbs revealed a selective and complete loss of two neutralizing epitopes on the D7 H when compared with C2, D6 and vaccine viruses. To assess whether these alterations of the D7 H affect the neutralizing capacity of polyclonal B-cell responses, genotype-specific antisera were produced in cotton rats. However, no significant genotype-dependent difference was found. Likewise, human sera obtained from vaccinees (=7) and convalescents (=6) did not distinguish between the MV genotypes. Although the hypothesis of selection of D7 viruses by pre-existing neutralizing antibodies is compatible with the differing pattern of neutralizing epitopes on the H protein, it was not confirmed by the results of MV neutralization with polyclonal sera.

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2005-02-01
2021-07-27
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