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Virology. 2008 Jun 20;376(1):112-23. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2008.03.022. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Differential mechanisms of complement-mediated neutralization of the closely related paramyxoviruses simian virus 5 and mumps virus.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Wake Forest University, School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1064, USA.


The complement system is an important component of the innate immune response to virus infection. The role of human complement pathways in the in vitro neutralization of three closely related paramyxoviruses, Simian Virus 5 (SV5), Mumps virus (MuV) and Human Parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV2) was investigated. Sera from ten donors showed high levels of neutralization against HPIV2 that was largely complement-independent, whereas nine of ten donor sera were found to neutralize SV5 and MuV only in the presence of active complement pathways. SV5 and MuV neutralization proceeded through the alternative pathway of the complement cascade. Electron microscopy studies and biochemical analyses showed that treatment of purified SV5 with human serum resulted in C3 deposition on virions and the formation of massive aggregates, but there was relatively little evidence of virion lysis. Treatment of MuV with human serum also resulted in C3 deposition on virions, however in contrast to SV5, MuV particles were lysed by serum complement and there was relatively little aggregation. Assays using serum depleted of complement factors showed that SV5 and MuV neutralization in vitro was absolutely dependent on complement factor C3, but was not dependent on downstream complement factors C5 or C8. Our results indicate that even though antibodies exist that recognize both SV5 and MuV, they are mostly non-neutralizing and viral inactivation in vitro occurs through the alternative pathway of complement. The implications of our work for development of paramyxovirus vectors and vaccines are discussed.

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