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J Virol. 1993 Oct;67(10):6071-9.

Distinct repertoire of antigenic variants of foot-and-mouth disease virus in the presence or absence of immune selection.

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  • 1Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Cantoblanco Spain.


Antigenic variants of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) were generated and frequently became dominant in clonal populations of FMDV (clone C-S8c1) grown in the absence of anti-FMDV antibodies. We have now passaged eight samples of the same FMDV clone in the presence of a limited amount of neutralizing polyclonal antibodies directed to the major antigenic site A of capsid protein VP1. Complex populations of variants showing increased resistance to polyclonal sera and to site A-specific monoclonal antibodies were selected. Some populations exhibited marked decreases in viral fitness. Multiple amino acid replacements within site A--and also elsewhere in VP1--accumulated upon passage of the virus in either the absence or the presence of neutralizing antibodies. However, antigenically critical replacements at one position in site A occurred repeatedly in FMDV passaged under antibody selection, but they were never observed in many passages carried out either in the absence of antiviral antibodies or in the presence of an irrelevant antiviral serum. Thus, even though antigenic variation of FMDV can occur in the absence or presence of immune selection, critical replacements which lead to important changes in antigenic specificity were observed only as a result of selection by neutralizing antibodies.

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