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Nature. 1981 Apr 23;290(5808):713-7.

Antigenic structure of influenza virus haemagglutinin defined by hybridoma antibodies.


The recurrence of influenza virus infection in man is attributed primarily to changes occurring in the antigenic structure of the viral surface glycoproteins, especially of the haemagglutinin (HA) molecule. Comparative antigenic analysis of epidemic influenza virus strains has allowed the description of 'strain-specific' and 'cross-reactive' antigenic determinants. However, the interpretation of these findings remained ambiguous, because the specificity of the applied antisera was insufficiently defined and because the antigenic differences among the HA molecules of various epidemic virus strains resulted presumably from a large number of amino acid substitutions. Thus, in characterizing the antigenic structure of the HA molecule, our approach has been (1) to generate a panel of monoclonal anti-HA hybridoma antibodies, (2) to use some of these antibodies to select mutants of the influenza A/PR/8/34 (PR8) virus expressing antigenically altered HA molecules, and (3) to construct an operational antigenic map of the HA molecule by comparative antigenic analysis of the mutant viruses with the monoclonal antibodies. As we report here, analysis of the 34 mutant viruses selected has enabled us to define four antigenic sites on the HA molecule. Our observation that these sites have undergone antigenic drift to a different extent in nature implies that the mechanisms responsible for antigenic drift act selectively on distinct structures of the HA molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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