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Vaccine. 2009 Sep 25;27(42):5822-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.07.051. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Presence of lysine at aa 335 of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase protein of mumps virus vaccine strain Urabe AM9 is not a requirement for neurovirulence.

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  • 1DVP/Office of Vaccines Research and Review, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The recent global resurgence of mumps has drawn attention to the continued need for robust mumps immunization programs. Unfortunately, some vaccines derived from inadequately attenuated vaccine strains of mumps virus have caused meningitis in vaccinees, leading to withdrawal of certain vaccine strains from the market, public resistance to vaccination, or in some cases, cessation of national mumps vaccination programs. The most widely implicated mumps vaccine in cases of postvaccination meningitis is derived from the Urabe AM9 strain, which remains in use in some countries. The Urabe AM9 vaccine virus has been shown to exhibit a considerable degree of nucleotide and amino acid heterogeneity. Some studies have specifically implicated variants containing a lysine residue at amino acid position 335 in the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) protein with neurotoxicity, whereas a glutamic acid residue at this position was associated with attenuation. To test this hypothesis we generated two modified Urabe AM9 cDNA clones coding either for a lysine or a glutamic acid at position 335 in the HN gene. The two viruses were rescued by reverse genetics and characterized in vitro and in vivo. Both viruses exhibited similar growth kinetics in neuronal and non-neuronal cell lines and were of similar neurotoxicity when tested in rats, suggesting that amino acid 335 is not a crucial determinant of Urabe AM9 growth or neurovirulence.

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