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Virology. 1983 Apr 30;126(2):525-37.

A topological and functional model of epitopes on the structural glycoprotein of tick-borne encephalitis virus defined by monoclonal antibodies.


A topological and functional model of eight distinct epitopes on the structural glycoprotein of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus was established by the use of monoclonal antibodies. The unique specificities and spatial relationships of these antibodies were determined by variant analysis, haemagglutination inhibition (HI), neutralization, passive mouse protection, and antibody blocking assays. Seven out of the eight distinct epitopes were shown to be partially linked and to cluster in two antigenically reactive domains (A, B). Each of these domains is inhomogeneous and contains constituents with different serological specificities and functions. Domain A is defined by three HA-inhibiting antibodies, two of which are flavivirus group-reactive, whereas the third is TBE virus subtype specific. Within this domain only the subtype-specific antibody is involved in virus neutralization, thus explaining the observation that neutralization tests with flaviviruses show higher serological specificities than HI tests and that HI tests can be made type and subtype specific by antibody absorption. Domain B is composed of three TBE-complex reactive epitopes, and the corresponding antibodies inhibit HA and neutralize the virus. A fourth epitope linked to this domain is neither involved in HA nor in neutralization and the same holds true for a subtype-specific epitope which is topologically independent of domains A and B. Each of two different nonneutralizing antibodies was capable of blocking the binding of distinct neutralizing antibodies. All eight epitopes are indistinguishably present on strains of the western subtype of TBE virus isolated all over Europe in different years from different hosts, thus again confirming the great stability of this virus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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