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J Gen Virol. 2008 Dec;89(Pt 12):3113-8. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/005199-0.

Identification of antibody neutralization epitopes on the fusion protein of human metapneumovirus.

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MedImmune, Inc. 1 MedImmune Way, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, USA.


Human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is genetically related to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); both cause respiratory tract illnesses ranging from a mild cough to bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The F protein-directed monoclonal antibody (mAb) palivizumab has been shown to prevent severe lower respiratory tract RSV infection in animals and humans. We have previously reported on a panel of mAbs against the hMPV F protein that neutralize hMPV in vitro and, in two cases, in vivo. Here we describe the generation of hMPV mAb-resistant mutants (MARMs) to these neutralizing antibodies. Sequencing the F proteins of the hMPV MARMs identified several neutralizing epitopes. Interestingly, some of the epitopes mapped on the hMPV F protein coincide with homologous regions mapped previously on the RSV F protein, including the site against which the broadly protective mAb palivizumab is directed. This suggests that these homologous regions play important, conserved functions in both viruses.

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