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Virology. 1995 Jan 10;206(1):298-306.

Direct evaluation of the immunodominance of a major antigenic site of foot-and-mouth disease virus in a natural host.

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Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


The immunodominance of a major antigenic site of foot-to-mouth disease virus (FMDV) (serotype C; clone C-S8c1) in a natural host has been evaluated by serum immunoglobulin fractionation. Nineteen sera from either convalescent or vaccinated swine were fractionated by affinity chromatography using a synthetic peptide representing antigenic site A (the G-H loop of capsid protein VP1) coupled to a Sepharose matrix. Antigen-binding and neutralizing activities of serum fractions were quantitated. On average, about 57 or 27% of the virus-neutralizing activity (and about 35 or 12% of the virus-binding activity) from convalescent or vaccinated swine, respectively, corresponded to antibodies against site A. The results provide direct evidence of the important contribution of site A, and also of additional sites unrelated to site A, in the evoking of neutralizing antibodies by FMDV in a natural host. The proportion of antibodies directed to site A varied greatly among individual swine. Some animals evoked remarkably low levels of antibodies specific for site A although they were competent to raise antibodies against other antigenic sites of FMDV. Thus, the major antigenic site of FMDV shows heterogeneous dominance in a natural host. Possible implications for evolution of viral quasispecies are discussed.

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