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J Virol. 1991 Aug;65(8):3995-4000.

Isolation of an arenavirus from a marmoset with callitrichid hepatitis and its serologic association with disease.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


Callitrichid hepatitis (CH) is an acute, often fatal viral infection of New World primates from the family Callitrichidae. The etiologic agent of CH is unknown. We report here the isolation of an arenavirus from a common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) with CH by using in vitro cultures of marmoset hepatocytes and Vero-E6 cells. Enveloped virions 67 to 133 nm in diameter with ribosomelike internal structures were seen in infected cultures. Immunofluorescence and Western immunoblot analysis using CH-specific antisera (principally from animals exposed to CH during zoo outbreaks) revealed three antigens in cells infected with this CH-associated virus (CHV). These antigens had the same electrophoretic mobilities on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels as did the nucleocapsid, GP2, and GPC proteins of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). Monoclonal antibodies specific for these arenavirus proteins also reacted with the three CHV antigens. Conversely, the CH-specific antisera reacted with the nucleocapsid, GP2, and GPC proteins of LCMV. CHV thus appears to be a close antigenic relative of LCMV. The serologic association of CHV with several CH outbreaks implicate it as the etiologic agent of this disease.

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