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Microbiol Immunol. 1997;41(3):241-52.

Antigenic and genetic variations among Japanese encephalitis virus strains belonging to genotype 1.

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Department of Virology, Nagasaki University, Japan.


Hyperimmune antisera against four Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus strains, ThCMAr4492 and ThCMAr6793 from Thailand and Nakayama and JaGAr01 from Japan, were used to analyze the antigenic relationships among 12 Thai strains belonging to genotype 1, and two Japanese strains and one Chinese strain belonging to genotype 3. The antiserum for ThCMAr6793 significantly neutralized nine of the 12 Thai strains, none of which was significantly neutralized by antisera for the Nakayama and JaGAr01 strains. The antiserum for ThCMAr4492 neutralized only its homologous strain; therefore, ThCMAr4492 was antigenically different from all other strains. Two Thai strains (Subin and KE-093/83) were significantly less neutralized by all four of the antisera tested. In the deduced amino-acid sequence of the E protein, the 12 Thai strains revealed 100 to 98.2% identity among them and 90.0 to 98.8% identity with the published strains, respectively. Among significant amino-acid substitutions, three residues at positions E-222, E-327 and E-366 were shared by all of the Thai strains, whereas residues at E-89, E-123, E-131, E-178, E-293, E-351 and E-373 seemed to be strain-specific. The amino acids at positions E-178, E-327, E-351, E-373 and E-366 are found either in the peptides with functional T-helper cell epitopes or in the ectodomain of the E protein of other flaviviruses. These amino acids may therefore be responsible for determining the antigenic heterogeneity of these strains.

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