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J Virol. Nov 1986; 60(2): 491–496.
PMCID: PMC288917

Reassortant rotaviruses containing structural proteins vp3 and vp7 from different parents induce antibodies protective against each parental serotype.


Genetic studies of reassortant rotaviruses have demonstrated that gene segments 4 and 9 each segregate with the serotype-specific neutralization phenotype in vitro. Reassortant rotaviruses derived by coinfection of MA-104 cells with the simian strain SA11 and the antigenically distinct bovine strain NCDV were used to determine which viral genes coded for proteins which induced a protective immune response in vivo. In addition, reassortant rotaviruses containing only the gene segment 4 or 9 protein products (vp3 and vp7, respectively) from SA11 or NCDV were used to determine the serotypic specificities of both vp3 and vp7 in several mammalian rotavirus strains. vp3 and vp7 from the murine strain Eb were shown to be indistinguishable from the corresponding proteins from strain SA11. Adult mice orally inoculated with strain Eb developed neutralizing antibodies to both vp3 and vp7. The two naturally occurring bovine rotavirus strains NCDV and UK were shown to contain antigenically similar vp7 but distinct vp3 proteins. Mouse dams orally immunized with a reassortant virus containing only gene 9 from NCDV passively protected their progeny against UK challenge, whereas mouse dams orally immunized with a reassortant virus containing only gene 4 from NCDV did not. Finally, we constructed reassortant viruses that immunized against rotaviruses of two distinct serotypes. SA11 X NCDV reassortants that contained vp3 and vp7 from different parents induced a protective immune response against both parental serotypes. vp3 and vp7 were independently capable of inducing a protective immune response after oral immunization. An understanding of the serotypic specificities of both vp3 and vp7 of human rotavirus isolates will be necessary for the development of successful strategies to protect infants against severe rotavirus infections.

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