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Virus Res. 2000 Mar;67(1):49-57.

Biological characteristics of genetic variants of Urabe AM9 mumps vaccine virus.

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Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Canada.


The Urabe AM9 mumps vaccine is composed of a mixture of variants distinguishable by a difference at nucleotide (nt) 1081 of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) gene (Brown, E.G., Dimock, K., Wright, K.E., 1996. The Urabe AM9 mumps vaccine is a mixture of viruses differing at amino acid (aa) 335 of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase gene with one form associated with disease. J. Infect. Dis. 174, 619-622.). Further genetic and biological variation was detected in plaque purified viruses from the Urabe AM9 vaccine by examining the HN gene sequence, plaque morphology, cytopathic effects and growth in Vero cells, and temperature sensitivity (ts). Infection of Vero cells with plaque purified viruses with a G at nt 1081 of the HN gene produced large, clear plaques, caused significant CPE early after infection but yielded lower titres of virus than other purified viruses. None of these viruses were ts. In contrast, half of the plaque purified viruses with an A at nt 1081 were sensitive to a temperature of 39.5 degrees C. These viruses produced small plaques, caused significant CPE and grew to low titres. Two ts viruses possessed a unique aa substitution at aa 468 of HN. The remaining A(1081) viruses were not ts, produced large plaques but little CPE, and grew to titres 10-fold higher than the G(1081) viruses. Isolates of Urabe AM9 associated with post-vaccination illness were similar to these non-ts A(1081) viruses, but could be further sub-divided into two groups on the basis of a difference at aa 464 of HN. The post-vaccination isolates may represent insufficiently attenuated components of the vaccine, while the G(1081) and ts subset of A(1081) viruses may be more fully attenuated.

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