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Vet Microbiol. 1989 Jan;19(1):37-51.

Cross-neutralization of genetic reassortants of bluetongue virus serotypes 20 and 21.

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Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.


Genetic reassortment studies of bluetongue virus (BTV) Types 20 and 21 have revealed a reassortant genotype that was not neutralized serotype-specifically. In reciprocal neutralization tests, BTV 20 and 21 were neutralized specifically by homologous antiserum. Similarly, reassortants that possessed both outer capsid proteins (i.e., VP2 and VP5) from the same parent virus reacted with that antiserum specifically. However, two reassortants, 16(9) and 19(1), with VP2 of BTV 20 and VP5 of BTV 21 had intermediate neutralization characteristics. These reassortants were neutralized to high titres by antiserum to BTV 20 and to lower, but significant titres by antiserum to BTV 21. In addition, antiserum to BTV 20 induced 10-16-fold higher titres in plaque reduction neutralization (PRN) tests with these two reassortants compared with BTV 20 itself. Evidence of the serological cross-reactivity of Reassortants 16(9) and 19(1) was also found with respect to reductions in plaque sizes observed in the PRN tests. The average plaque sizes of these reassortants were reduced to differing extents by antiserum to BTV 20 and 21, while those formed by the parent viruses were reduced in size by homologous antiserum only. Immunoblotting analysis of the structural proteins of BTV 20 and 21 demonstrated that VP2 alone was antigenically distinct, therefore confirming its role in determining serotype specificity in virus-neutralization tests. Electrophoretic analysis revealed considerable migrational differences between VP2 and VP5 of the parent viruses, suggesting that there was some divergence in their molecular weights, intrinsic charges or structural compositions. Taken together, the data suggest that the intermediate neutralization characteristics of the reassortants that contain VP2 and VP5 from different parent viruses are due to conformational alterations in their outer capsid structure which allow antibody recognition of common neutralizing epitopes that are not exposed on BTV 20 or BTV 21.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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